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Message-ID: <s77a15d9.033@mail.ci.detroit.mi.us>
Date: Wed, 30 Jun 1999 13:04:05 -0400
Sender: Forum on Labor in the Global Economy <LABOR-L@YorkU.CA>
From: Charles Brown <CharlesB@CNCL.CI.DETROIT.MI.US>
Subject: Transnational bourgeois assault on healthcare

Date: Mon, 28 Jun 1999 22:36:53 -0700
From: Ellen Gould <murrayg._dobbin@bc.sympatico.ca>
Reply-To: murrayg._dobbin@bc.sympatico.ca=20
To: Bob Olsen <bobolsen@interlog.com>
Subject: GATS Attack: American Health Transnationals’ Goals for the WTO Negotiations on Services

GATS (General Agreement on Trade in Services) Attack: American Health Transnationals’ Goals for the WTO Negotiations on Services

From Ellen Gould, 28 June 1999

In June, the U.S. Trade Representative Charlene Barshevsky announced the U.S. wanted a radical change to the General Agreement on Trade in Services to be achieved through this fall’s World Trade Organization negotiations. The U.S. wants all services opened up to liberalization. Both the U.S. and the European Union, the dominant forces at the WTO, have declared that education and health services in particular should be on the table.

Below is a statement of what private health corporations want out of the WTO negotiations on services, with key quotes highlighted at the beginning.

Although Canadian officials are well aware of these American objectives, in none of the so-called public consultations the Canadian government has had over the upcoming WTO negotiations have these threats to Medicare been made a topic for discussion. Provincial and municipal governments have also not been informed of what is at risk in the upcoming round of WTO negotiations.

You can find the position of the American services lobby group—which includes the largest American health transnational corporation Aetna—at: http://www.uscsi.org/

Look under What’s new, then scroll down to Services 2000 and click on their submission re the WTO ministerial. Within this you will find their objectives on health care liberalization under Section V [which I’ve pasted for you below].

They are calling for majority foreign ownership to be allowed for all health facilities.

Quotations extracted:

We believe we can make much progress in the negotiations to allow the opportunity for U.S. businesses to expand into foreign health care markets. . .

Historically, health care services in many foreign countries have largely been the responsibility of the public sector. This public ownership of health care has made it difficult for U.S. private-sector health care providers to market in foreign countries. . ..

Three general objectives [at the WTO negotiations on services] are to encourage more privatization, to promote pro-competitive regulatory reform, and to obtain liberalization. . ..

Specific objectives are. . ..

Obtain market access and national treatment commitments allowing provisions of all health care services cross border. . .

Allow majority foreign ownership of health care facilities. . .