Rally for Medicare, increased political action supported by HSA delegates

Delegates rallied to Stand Up for Medicare.

Delegates to the 37th annual convention of the Health Sciences Association kicked off the two-day convention with a rally to support Medicare, and closed the annual meeting bidding farewell to two long-standing board members.

The Friday rally, -Standing up for Medicare" featured warnings about what the future hold for health care in B.C.

At the rally, co-hosted by HSA and the BC Health Coalition, Marie-Claude Premont, a professor of public administration and expert on the health care system in Quebec warned that the BC governments amendment to the Medicare Protection Act introduce earlier this month lays the groundwork for increased private delivery and financing of health care in this province. Randall White of Canadian Doctors for Medicare urged British Columbians to take back the word -sustainability" ... because, he said, a sustainable health care system should be about meeting patients needs ... not the finance ministers goals.

HSA President Reid Johnson challenged delegates to take up the challenge to chart the course for the future.

-The only way we can do that is by committing to each other that we will ... each and every one of us ... do something to influence change. If every one of the 200-plus delegates here today made a commitment to do something that makes a difference, then we will be well on our way to taking responsibility for what the future holds," he said.

Delegates upheld that sentiment, voting to increase the unions political action fund to .75% of revenue ... up from .5% of revenue for the coming two years to support members who work on election campaigns and in grassroots political activities.

Delegates thanked outgoing board members Brian Isberg, Region 2 Director and Secretary Treasure, and Lois Dick, Region 10 director, for their years of service to the union, and welcomed Valerie Avery (Region 2) and Heather Sapergia (Region 10) who began their two-year terms at adjournment of convention Saturday afternoon.

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