Canadians Concerned Over Costs of Long-Term Care

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CMA Press Release

VANCOUVER, Aug. 20 /CNW Telbec/ - Results of a new poll released today by the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) reveal that only just over half (55%) of Canadians are confident they will have enough savings to afford their own long-term care.

"When Medicare was created in the sixties, politicians decided that only doctor and hospital services should be covered," said CMA President Dr. Colin McMillan. "Well, it's clear from the polling results released today that Canadians feel that our bell-bottom-era system could use some updating to address the realities of health care in the twenty-first century."

The CMA commissioned public polling on the continuum of care - the array of health services that are used by individuals - to inform both the release of its Medicare Plus document and discussions to take place today among delegates to General Council in Vancouver.

The poll sought to find out what services were most important to Canadians, their level of worry as to being able to afford various services in the future, and what services should be a priority for governments.

The poll found:

- 55% were very or somewhat confident they would be able to cover long-term care expenses and 43% were not;

- Most (37%) thought long-term care should be the top priority if medicare were to be expanded, followed by home care (26%); prescription drugs (18%); dental care (11%); and vision care (2%);

- Canadians were split evenly as to whether the government should cover a portion of catastrophic drug expenses that exceed a certain amount of income (40%), or 70% of all Canadians' prescription drug expenses (40%). Only 16% said government should cover 100% of Canadians' prescription drug expenses.

- 50% said governments should maintain 100% funding of doctor and hospital services, even if individuals or their insurance would be fully responsible for other services;

- 46% said governments should use existing funding to fund 70% of all health care services including doctors' visits, hospital services, drug coverage, home care and dental care, even if individuals or their insurance would pay the difference.

"In less than five years the first of the post-war baby boomers will turn 65 and Canada will face a long-term care crunch," said Dr. Colin McMillan, the CMA President. "Our system, focused largely on covering hospital and physician services, needs to adapt and grow to address new realities and meet new challenges."

Ipsos-Reid surveyed 1,001 Canadian adults between June 19 and 29, 2007. This sample provides a +/-3.2% margin of error for the overall national findings 19 times out of 20. The poll can be accessed at: www.cma.ca

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For further information: Lucie Boileau, Manager, Media Relations, (604)648-1333 (from August 19-22 at the Westin Bayshore Hotel in Vancouver (BC)/