Healthcare is top election issue, Canadian Medical Association

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Healthcare is the dominant federal election issue for prairie voters according to an opinion poll conducted for the Canadian Medical Association (CMA).

The topic of healthcare earned a double digit margin as the most important election issue in an Ipsos Reid poll earlier this month.

"This marks the third installment of our regional polling on issues that matter to Canadians in this federal election and not surprisingly health care continues to be their top-rated concern," said CMA President Dr. Jeff Turnbull. "We heard it in Atlantic Canada, we heard it in B.C. and now we are hearing it in the heartland - health care is the number one issue Canadians want addressed."

The CMA points out the poll found that nearly four in 10 Prairie and Northern Canadians believe that health care (35 per cent) trumps the economy and jobs (24 per cent) as their top issue for the federal election. Debt and deficit reduction came in third at 15 per cent. Over three-quarters of respondents indicated the federal government's role as custodian of the Canada Health Act is very important.

Nearly seven in 10 (69 per cent) believe it is very important that party leaders present their plan to ensure that Canadians have a sustainable health care system that meets patient needs, and seven in 10 (69 per cent) also think it's very important in the context of the election that the party leaders be willing to address the health care challenges facing Canadians. Further, nearly two in 10 (17 per cent) said they would change their vote if the party they currently support failed to present a plan for the future of health care.

"Earlier this week the federal leaders touched on health care during the election debates, but Canadians want more from their politicians," Turnbull said. "The election campaign is half over and time is running out for federal parties to tell Canadians how they plan to transform the health care system so that it meets patients' needs, now and in the future."

Organizations: Canadian Medical Association, Ipsos Reid

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