The aging of Canadians, the rising costs of health care, and the blossoming of computer and internet technology make it imperative that governments "open the can" on health care. Too long has it been the preserve of medical professionals and bureaucrats. Policy and legislation must strive to engage a far greater range of citizens in the creation of health care solutions, especially by means of organizations that communities own and control.
"... debates and discussions on how to reform the health system have been fractious and highly charged. Too often, the focus has been on strongly-held opposing views and fears that any substantial changes will undermine Medicare or the principles of the Canada Health Act.
"These fears are unfounded. The delivery of health care services by community-controlled organizations is and will remain consistent with the principles of the Canada Health Act. What's more, due to its consistency with the evolution of thinking about the health care system, community-controlled delivery of health care will renew Medicare.
"What evolution in thinking is that? The shift from treating disease to preventing disease and promoting health and wellness. The insistence of the Canadian public for greater accountability on the part of the health system not just for costs, but for the very high level of outcomes that we now expect. The expectation that care will be rapid, excellent, and tailored to individual needs, including the individual's need to manage much of that care by her/himself. The demand for innovative delivery models that reflect the tremendous powers of information storage, analysis, and dissemination that new technology puts literally at the fingertips of patients and health professionals. The commitment that Canadians should be guaranteed ready access to quality health care regardless of their income."