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ALL ABOUT THE MOST VIBRANT,
CULTURALLY DIVERSE NEIGHBOURHOOD IN VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Special Event: Medicare Meeting at Croation Cultural Centre Tonight

Friends of Medicare campaign to promote positive, public solutions to province's health care challenges

    VANCOUVER, May 16 CNW - The BC Health Coalition, along with Canadian
Doctors for Medicare, Oxfam and the Council of Canadians, today launched
Friends of Medicare, a campaign to protect and improve public health care in
B.C.
"We're hearing from people throughout the province that what our health
care system needs is positive, public solutions to address challenges in the
system, and they are concerned their voices aren't being heard by a government
intent on private, for-profit schemes for health care," said BCHC co-chair
Joyce Jones.
The Friends of Medicare campaign is aimed at giving British Columbians a
strong voice in opposition to the government's agenda for private health care,
promoting instead various public solutions to health care challenges.
"We are calling on British Columbians who've told us they want to take a
more active role in protecting and enhancing public health care to join the
Friends of Medicare campaign and participate actively in delivering that
message," said BCHC co-chair Anne Shannon.
The campaign kicks off this week with a public town hall meeting Thursday
night featuring Dr. Jacky Davis, who has exposed how damaging "market
competition" schemes like the ones being promoted by the provincial government
have been in the United Kingdom. Dr. Davis is a founding member of "Keep our
NHS Public," a successful community-driven campaign to stop and roll back
government action to dismantle the National Health Service - Britain's public
health care system.
"We've seen in Britain the damage that an attack on the public health
system has done. And while I want you to learn from our mistakes, I believe
you can also learn from our successes. Keep our NHS Public has been an
important channel for Britons to come together to speak out for the health of
our public system," Dr. Davis said.
Dr. Margaret McGregor said Canadian Doctors for Medicare support the
campaign to give British Columbians a strong voice for medicare. "Evidence
from the U.K. and other jurisdictions shows that widespread introduction of
privately-funded health care increases overall costs and drains human
resources from the public system."
Thursday's public forum will begin at 7 p.m. at the Croatian Cultural
Centre, 3250 Commercial Drive in Vancouver. Along with Dr. Davis, the forum
will feature B.C. political commentator Will McMartin. He will expose the
falsehoods behind the provincial government's claims that public health care
spending is unsustainable.
Friends of Medicare is making a direct appeal to British Columbians,
through an extensive direct mail campaign and an interactive website -
www.bchealthcoalition.ca, to join the campaign, become supporters, and
participate in Friends of Medicare activities that urge the provincial
government to implement and expand the public programs that work for British
Columbians' health.
Leslie Dickout, the health coalition's medicare campaigner, says that
support for universal, public health care is wide-spread. "As more and more
British Columbians join the Friends of Medicare campaign, they will become a
powerful voice to convince the government to strengthen and enhance medicare
with positive, public solutions, and not continue down the road of more costly
private, for-profit schemes."

The BC Health Coalition is a broad-based network of organizations and
individuals who support public health care.

A backgrounder is attached to the electronic version of this release at
www.bchealthcoalition.ca
For further information: Leslie Dickout, medicare campaigner, BC Health
Coalition, (604) 787-6560

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