Federal Health Minister Jane Philpott, the provincial Health Ministers and Finance Ministers concluded their talks today without agreeing to make changes to the federal funding of the Health Accord. This should be on the agenda for the Premier’s meeting in December as the Premier’s have requested.

In our framework of federalism it is reasonable to expect the kind of response we saw today. A focus on the key health care issues, discussion on those issues and agreement in principle on working together to resolve them. Home and community care, palliative care, affordable prescriptions, mental health and addictions, the opioid crisis, innovation in health systems and technology were discussed. 

These are very high priority issues and must have solutions implemented. The longer it takes to resolve the funding issue the longer Canadians will wait for these good intentioned solutions.

The Federal government clearly has the ability to change the funding formula just as the last federal government did. There is no disagreement among provincial health ministers that the 3% annual funding increase will be insufficient to meet the needs of Canadians and exacerbate the cost increases that provincial governments will incur. 

Canadians seniors agree with them. Fifty years ago the health care funding formula was 50% federal and 50% provincial. Today it is 80% (in some cases as high as 90%) provincial and 20% federal. 

National Pensioners Federation has an expectation that the Federal government will provide the funding increases to transfer payments required so that the good will, focused discussion and commitment to work together will provide the needed improvements in Health Care. Seniors expect the Federal government to take actions in line with the commitments they made and the hope they created.

Election 2015: The Health Care Debate

Date: September 17, 2015 Author: Wendy Glauser, Michelle Stasiuk & Maureen Taylor

Liberal Party: Though during the past decade there has been a notable absence of federal leadership on health care, the federal government has a vital role to play. The absence of a federal-provincial partnership and engagement on the expired federal-provincial Health Accord was a missed opportunity.

A Liberal government will call a federal-provincial meeting to reach a long-term agreement on health care funding. In addition to reengaging in areas where there is direct federal responsibility—including health promotion, support to caregivers, and First Nations’ health—we are committed to meeting with the Premiers to talk about how to strengthen health care.

We will have more to say about this in the days and weeks to come.

Herb John
National Pensioners Federation