Trudeau has laid out a $196-billion, 10-year health-care offer to premiers.
The Federal proposal is a major step forward in the quest for improved health care. CARP has been a strong advocate for transformational change to the health care system. A recent survey of CARP members found that 4 in 5 (83%) believe the federal government should increase funding to the provinces to help improve quality and timeliness of healthcare.
Canada’s health care system is lagging when compared to other Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries. According to OECD data, we are way behind other countries in the number of doctors, nurses, hospital beds, imaging scanners and public funding of new medicines.
However, as always, the devil is in the details. As Trudeau notes, “these additional federal investments will be contingent on continued health care investments by provinces and territories.”
CARP is concerned that seniors and other vulnerable citizens may once again be a “ping pong ball” caught between the federal government and provinces/territories, as the parties argue over responsibilities and services.
The premiers say the offer will increase the federal share of health care costs from 22 per cent to 24 per cent next year, far short of the 35 per cent the provinces and territories were demanding. The Federal government suggests the percentage is higher. Either way, Canada’s fractured health care system and vulnerable citizens waiting for doctors, diagnosis, specialists or key medicines cannot afford a lengthy debate on the implementation of critical health care.
“Seniors are tired of being caught in the middle when the federal government and provinces argue over responsibilities and services, says CARP Chief Operating Officer, Bill VanGorder. “While increased funding is a good news, we fear that, similar to the Child Care Funding, the agreements will end up being province by province with the federal Government and will take months if not years to complete.”
CARP is urging provinces to negotiate promptly for funding and other supports to improve health care for older Canadians. CARP hopes both federal and provincial/territorial parties come to the table with flexibility. Ultimately, decision-makers at all levels of the government need to focus on results that matter to patients, cut unnecessary red tape, and invest wisely.