Hughes calls on government to recommit to health care funding

Ottawa – Stable funding for health care should be a priority for the federal government so we can properly serve Canada’s growing and aging population says Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing MP, Carol Hughes.  Despite that reality, the omnibus budget set out a formula that will lower the federal share and result in reduced service for Canadians.

“Lately, we see that differences between provincial health care systems in Canada are growing,” said Hughes.  “We also know that the experience of rural and northern Canadians is vastly different.”

Hughes noted that the government is committing to a transfer formula determined by a GDP average over a three year period which will lead to chronic shortfalls and downloads more costs squarely on the provinces.   For regions that are already under-serviced, like rural and northern communities, this is not good news.

“The Parliamentary Budget Officer has told us that the federal share of Canada Health Transfer will decrease to the point that the provinces will be short-changed by $31 billion in just 12 years,” said Hughes.  “In places like rural northern Ontario the prospect of simple things like providing enough family doctors becomes less certain despite promises to reverse this trend.”  

Hughes also noted that the government is failing to implement cost-saving proposals that have been part of the health care discussion for years.

“We need to start building the next generation of health care in our country,” said Hughes as she concluded her remarks.  “Why are the Conservatives not looking at areas where we can control costs such as bulk drug purchasing and move on reforms from the Romanow Report and the 2003-2004 Health Accords designed to improve our system?”