Healthcare is political: case example of physician advocacy in response to the cuts to refugees’ and claimants’ healthcare coverage under the Interim Federal Health Program

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Rebecca Warmington
Dolly Lin


“Healthcare is political.” That phrase seems obvious. While healthcare is constitutionally a provincial responsibility, it has become a hallmark of Canadian federalism with all levels of government taking part in its function. Furthermore, it has become one of the core Canadian values, with Canadians continuing to place healthcare as the strongest symbol of their national identity. Yet, as future physicians, medical students are wary of “getting political” in fear of taking sides, loosing impartiality, and losing focus on patient care. However, political actions and issues can have a significant impact on the clinical practices of all physicians. This article will argue that changes to the Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP) have hindered the ability of physicians to provide best practice, evidence-based medicine, and will outline how members of the medical profession, including University of Ottawa medical students, have played an important role in advocating for those affected by the changes to the IFHP.

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