After several “Leader Debates,” the political parties’ campaign promises are now clear and the elderly appear to be coming out ahead in this political race initiated on August 23. However, as Ms. Chagnon mentioned during the first debate, it is hard to be completely convinced with all the promises made. Skepticism is at its apogee in matters of health. Although always a high priority for Quebeckers, healthcare seems to be sidelined in the debates. Jean-François Lisée preferred to spend most of his healthcare-related time attacking Québec Solidaire on their methods than expounding on his own party’s commitments. Structural reforms were abandoned in favour of proposals targeting specific constituency groups. In the age of social media and dominant marketing, the parties preferred to trade in fundamental debates for limited-time-only special offers!
Still, some parties allowed certain room for innovation, as demonstrated in the list of promises below. Somewhat noteworthy is the lack of attention given to medication, medical equipment (off the shopping list) and information technology (mentioned by only one party) sectors, though they are part of the solution for improving our healthcare system.
Experts and observers, normally outspoken on healthcare reforms, remain silent regarding the advanced proposals so far. Healthcare professionals (GPs and medical specialists) are on the defensive as they weather sustained attacks from nearly all parties. The Quebec Liberal Party alone is on their side, acting as a virtual spokesperson on behalf of these clinical experts. During the leaders' sparring match, some healthcare professionals were promoted as part of the solution for better access to healthcare. As always, specialized nurses are in the category of caregivers who can help decongest the network, but this time community pharmacists are also identified as more accessible professionals (QLP and PQ) who provide healthcare to the public.
The issue of patient-focused funding, a hot topic in recent years, is no longer enjoying the same level of success. The QLP and the CAQ agree that it is important to continue in this direction. QS and the PQ oppose it. They prefer to improve healthcare by focusing on all health professionals rather than physicians. The CAQ made an interesting promise on medical over diagnosis and the overconsumption of medicines. The CAQ wants to show that it spends public money responsibly. This position may appear paradoxical, however, when their platform is to accelerate new drug approvals and invest in clinical research based in Quebec. This matter has received no attention in the campaign so far.
We have summarized each of the party’s healthcare proposals below (download the PDF summary table of proposals), followed by an overview of the candidates with the greatest likelihood of becoming the next government’s Health Minister (download the PDF overview of potential Health Ministers).
Healthcare campaign promises
For every party, we highlight at least one original idea which reflects their unique character. Not considered, are relevance and effectiveness qualifications for the idea. However, the fact that the proposal is unique to each of the party’s platform, indicates a certain willingness to implement it in the coming years. (Download the PDF summary table.)
Who will be health minister?
——— Guillaume Lefèvre is a former Director, Healthcare and Energy Strategy at NATIONAL Public Relations