By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, January 10, 2012 - 0 Comments
Scott Clark and Peter DeVries consider the Harper government’s health funding proposal.
The decision to tie the growth in the CHT to the growth in nominal GDP – a rate of growth that will be less than the current 6 per cent per year – clearly indicates that the federal government recognizes that it is facing a “structural deficit” that needs to be confronted now. The Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO), international organizations and we have argued that the federal government is facing a small structural deficit now but that it will increase rapidly after 2015 due to demographic pressures on potential economic growth and health related spending. To date, the Minister of Finance has denied the existence of a structural deficit and has publicly ignored any discussion of the demographic pressures. This is the first indication that he has seen the numbers and is worried, although it is doubtful he will admit this in public and/or release any internal research done on this subject.
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, December 20, 2011 at 10:43 AM - 0 Comments
Like the six percent promise, that seems at odds with what the Conservatives promised during the campaign. This from the party’s election platform (emphasis theirs).
Canadians expect and deserve timely access to high-quality health care services. To help achieve that goal, we will work collaboratively with the provinces and territories to renew the Health Accord and to continue reducing wait times.
In our discussions we will emphasize the importance of accountability and results for Canadians – better reporting from the provinces and territories to measure progress, and guarantees covering additional medically necessary procedures.
In the spirit of open federalism, when renewing the Health Accord we will respect the fact that health care is an area of provincial jurisdiction and respect limits on the federal spending power.
Recognizing asymmetrical federalism, we will follow the precedent of a separate agreement with the Government of Quebec regarding the implementation of the renewed Health Accord.
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, December 20, 2011 at 8:30 AM - 0 Comments
After the Liberals and Conservatives exchanged campaign promises in April, Jim Flaherty was interviewed by Kathleen Petty on CBC radio’s The House. Here is my transcript of the portion of that conversation that dealt with health care transfers and the six percent increase.
Petty. Now let’s talk about health care because Stephen Harper, this week, along with the Liberals and we know the NDP as well, have all agreed to maintain health care transfers to the provinces to six percent as the escalator year-over-year after 2014, which is when the accord expires. But it’s not found in the platform, it’s not found in the budget, except as an assumption in 2015-16 that says that it’s subject to discussion or review, so I’m not quite sure how this is all being costed out.
Flaherty. Well, it is, I can assure you that the six percent increase is built into the fiscal track. That is, we go forward when we budget and make certain assumptions. We have assumed six percent on an ongoing basis for the Canada Health Transfer and we’re committed to that.
Petty. For how many years?
Flaherty. Well, until 2014 and then thereafter. Now, we have to negotiate…
Petty. But what’s thereafter? That’s the part I’m asking.
Flaherty. Thereafter’s at least two years…
Pause. So there’s the caveat to the six percent promise, right? Well, there might’ve been the caveat, except for the fact that the interview wasn’t over and Mr. Flaherty wasn’t done explaining himself. Continue…