kingston & the islands' NDP Blog

Sunday, January 15, 2006

The Conservatives on health care: No New Funding

Health care still hasn't recovered from Paul Martin's 1995 cuts. The NDP's platform outlines the damage that's been done to our national health care system under the Liberals:
  • Between 1998 and 2002, out-of-pocket spending on basic health care by Canadians increased by almost 28%.
  • Individual Canadians spent an estimated $17 billion out-of-pocket on their health care needs in 2002 alone.
  • In addition, in the same year, private insurers paid another $17.5 billion to cover insured health care costs.
  • The public share (70%) of Canada‚Äôs overall health care spending ranks us below countries such as the United Kingdom, Germany and France.
The Conservatives say they're against privatization and will act to protect our health care system, but will they put our money where their mouth is? The short answer, from their platform, is No:
  • Maintain the currently projected growth rates for transfers to persons such as elderly benefits and Employment Insurance, and transfers to other levels of government for health, social programs, equalization, and municipal infrastructure.
In other words: No new federal money for health care. That means that elsewhere in the platform, when the Conservatives say things like:
  • We will work with the provinces and territories to increase the numbers of, and expand educational programs for doctors, nurses, and other health professionals.
Whatever "work with the provinces" means, it doesn't mean "provide additional funding." The Conservatives have promised to reduce wait times and to increase the number of doctors and nurses without spending an additional dime. The reality? Provinces will have to cut other programs, or other health services, in order to increase the number of health professionals and reduce wait times -- or we simply won't get more doctors and nurses, or shorter waiting lists.

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