Autres nouvelles Election 2015: Health issues primer - CMAJ

For the past 30 years, in poll after poll with only one exception, Canadians have declared that health care is the most important issue they face. Yet more than a month into the federal election campaign, health care is languishing on the list of political priorities. Why?

Health care is rarely a federal ballot question because it doesn't move voters emotionally, says Tasha Kheiriddin, a political commentator for the National Post, CBC and CTV. "The best shot to get on the agenda is to figure out which buttons to push," Kheiriddin said during an election readiness session at the Canadian Medical Association's General Council Aug. 25.

End-of-life rules, access to pharmaceutical medicine, high suicide rates: these and other highly charged issues are being put forward by advocacy groups but with little apparent effect so far.

In a recent poll by the Mood Disorders Society of Canada, 91% of the 2245 respondents identified increasing access to mental health care professionals as a top priority. But improving services "can't be done without federal involvement as not only an initiator of increased support but also as a coordinator between the provinces and the territories," says Dave Gallson, the society's national executive director.

Mental illness constitutes more than 15% of the disease burden in Canada, but funding for mental health care is 7% of the total expenditure on health, he added.