Here in B.C., there have been demands from healthcare professionals that the Harper government restore $36 billion in federal healthcare transfers.
The critics are opposed to changes that have the federal government maintaining six per cent annual increases to healthcare funding until fiscal 2016/17, followed by hikes pegged to GDP growth with a three per cent minimum.
Bonnie Pearson of the B.C. Hospitals Employees Union says this province will end up receiving $5 billion less over the next decade.
“While yes, there is additional money that goes into health, the demands on that additional money increased far beyond what’s available,” says Pearson. “So how that plays out is that there is not enough staff.”
Pearson adds, “We’ve seen the overcrowded emergency rooms, we’ve seen the hallway medicine, we’ve seen the chronic understaffing at residential care; so people are waiting longer – in some cases for health services – we expect that those waitlists and the wait for services will continue to grow.”
Prince George-Peace River MP Bob Zimmer has responded to the critics’ claims arguing that healthcare funding is at an historic high.
He says Ottawa’s record funding of healthcare will reach $40 billion a year by 2020, and in the current fiscal year, B.C. will receive over $4.4 billion in Canada Health Transfers.
He adds, a pre-election note, which puts that amount $1.6 billion above what was provided to the province under the previous federal Liberal government.
He also notes the Conservative government is taking steps to ensure all Canadians have access to a healthcare system that is both, “strong and sustainable.” He adds, what’s not sustainable, is pouring money into a system at a rate exceeding the capacity of the economy to pay.