The Saskatchewan Health Coalition and Canadian Doctors for Medicare are deeply concerned that, with the looming expiration of Canada’s Health Accord on March 31st the federal government is still refusing to sit down with provincial and territorial leaders to provide stable funding and provide leadership in improving Medicare.
After March 31st, a much greater proportion of the costs and risks associated with Medicare will be dumped on the provinces. It will also be accompanied by a $36 billion dollar cut to federal health transfers, and an additional $16.5 billion dollar cut to health care equalization payments. For Saskatchewan this translates into over $100 million each year for the next ten years.
“This abandonment of the federal role will lead to a fragmentation of services across the country, and access to care will depend on where you live and you or your province’s ability to pay.” Said Stan Rice, chair of the Saskatchewan Health Coalition.
Federal funding for Medicare began in 1966 with a commitment to provide 50% of the funding. Just prior to the signing of the Health Accord 10 years ago that had dropped to just over 10%. The 6% escalator in the Health Accord brought the federal contribution back up to 20%. Prime Minister Harper’s plans mark the beginning of another slide in the contribution of the federal government.
While Canadians overwhelmingly support public, universal health care, the federal government’s decision to abdicate their responsibilities poses a great risk to the future of our health care system.
“If we hope to provide Canadians with reliable access to quality care, regardless of which province they call home, we need the Federal Government to take a leadership role by providing sustainable funding and scaling up innovation.” said Dr. Ryan Meili, vice-chair of Canadian Doctors for Medicare.
Today we ask the Prime Minister to resume discussions with provincial and territorial leaders on how best to sustain and improve universal health care in Canada.