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B.C. dealt $4.13 billion health funding shortfall in federal bilateral funding agreement: report

For immediate release – October 18, 2017

B.C. dealt $4.13 billion health funding shortfall in federal bilateral funding agreement: report

Federal deals saddle provinces with a total $31 billion in health care cuts, no health accord following failed negotiations

Edmonton - Canada’s health coalition release a report today that shows recent bilateral health funding deals between the federal and provincial governments leave the provinces $31 billion short in health care funding. For worst-hit provinces, the funding gap ranges from $3.4 to $13.6 billion.

“The funding formula in these deals is not sufficient even to support existing health services,” says Edith MacHattie, BC Health Coalition co-chair. “In B.C., a $4.13 billion cut is hugely significant. Those kind of resources buy critical services: for example, 15,140 physicians for 10 years, 300,757 hip and knee replacements, and 13,409,090 MRIs.”

The bilateral deals have been strongly opposed by the majority of the provinces who are concerned about the gulf their health care budgets and the federal governments’ proposals.

In December, after only a cursory effort at negotiations, the federal government tabled an ultimatum unpopular among the provinces. The federal government then walked away from discussions without the promised Accord and instead opted to push through bilateral funding deals with the provinces and territories one at a time.

“Instead of building off Prime Minister Paul Martin’s legacy of reinvesting in public health care, creating accords with money targeted at improving public health care, and providing federal leadership, the Trudeau Government has aligned itself with the retrenchment policies of the Harper era,” says Natalie Mehra, Executive Director, Ontario Health Coalition. “Bilateral agreements are no way to build and promote an equitable national vision and move it forward.”

The report analyzes the results from previous health accords and shows that setting targets and national standards result in meaningful changes such as an increase in the volumes of MRIs and targeted surgeries, action on wait times, and progress in primary care reform and access to home care.

Health Coalitions across Canada are calling on the federal, provincial, territorial and First Nations governments to return to the negotiating table for a new accord and sustainable funding agreements.

For the full report, click here.

For more information, please contact:

Nathanel Lowe, Organizer, BC Health Coalition, cell: 604-349-9079, email: [email protected]