Letter to the Editor: Healthcare Funding Fiasco

Caduceus By Rama (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Caduceus By Rama (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Whether it is inadequate healthcare services or inadequate equalization funding, the provincial government is sending a not-so-camouflaged message that this part of the province is not in its future development plans. For this discussion, however, I will focus attention to the healthcare issue — as I see it.

As our diminishing numbers of community healthcare workers struggle to provide healthcare services while watching other vital medical practitioners leave because of government changes that are not fully explained and understood, government politicians still claim that healthcare is one of their main concerns. Why does this kind of robotic, political response from government ministers not reassure the people or the majority of the remaining healthcare staff?

When I look at the financing of healthcare, I find that there is a diminishing funding footprint — particularly by the federal government. Historically, the federal funding partnership was a 50-50 [federal/provincial] arrangement. However, none of our political representatives, particularly in government, has even mentioned this concern to the public.

In 2014, the present Canada Health Accord was imposed by former Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper without any consultation with the provincial governments. Harper eliminated the previous 6% funding escalator. Instead, the Canada Health Transfer will rise by 3% annually or by a three-year average of nominal GDP growth, whichever is greater.

In July 2015, the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions estimated the funding formula would cost the provinces $43.5 billion over an eight-year period.

To add insult to injury, by 2024, Harper’s change to a per capita funding formula will reportedly cost Nova Scotia $902 million because of the number of older Nova Scotians – a form of “eldercide,” to coin a word that best describes Harper’s healthcare agenda.

And, with the rise to power of the Liberal Party, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government saw no need to change that agenda, which was formulated when Harper was president of the National Citizens Coalition, a group which was founded by wealthy insurance broker Colin M. Brown and is no friend of the public healthcare system.

In 2017, the Council of Canadians estimated that the federal funding footprint would be as low as 18.6% in 2024. But with the trend going even lower, I received no response from the government when seeking confirmation of that information.

That a federally registered charity, the Canadian Constitution Foundation, is accepting donations and issuing tax receipts to help finance Dr. Brian Day’s court costs as he tries to circumvent the Canada Health Act should be alarming to Canadians. For-profit medicine will not cure — if you cannot pay the doctor.

Should Cape Bretoners wait that long before they decide that the old-line political parties are keeping them in perpetual economic distress, refusing them a fair share of the yearly federal equalization transfer?

Will Cape Bretoners seek another path to political self-determination and economic sustainability before it is too late?

 

Charles Sampson
Sydney Forks

 

 

 

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