Atlantic provinces need more to fund health care

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Dr. Chris Simpson, past president of  the Canadian Medical Association, urged Atlantic Canada’s premiers today to push for a CMA-recommended demographic top-up to the health transfer to support providing the right care for their aging populations.

In the case of Atlantic Canada, a demographic top-up would yield an additional $149.5 million in 2017-18 for the delivery of care, Dr. Simpson said in a speech to the New Brunswick Association of Nursing Homes.

As an equal per capita funding model, the Canada Health Transfer does not account for segments of the population with increased health care needs, such as seniors. Today while seniors account for about one-sixth of the population, they consume about half of provincial and territorial health budgets. This is exacerbated for jurisdictions with older populations; for Atlantic provinces, seniors represent 18.8 per cent of the population, well over the national average (16.1 per cent).

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The CMA is not recommending that the government modify the current funding formula. Rather, the CMA recommends that the federal government deliver additional funding on an annual basis beginning in 2017-18 by means of a demographic top-up to the Canada Health Transfer. Under the CMA’s proposal, New Brunswickwould gain $50.7 million; Nova Scotia, $58.6 million, while Newfoundland and Labrador would add $30.5 millionand PEI, $9.7 million.

“Without a demographic top-up, provinces with older populations will be challenged to meet the increased need for health care. This is not fair,” Dr. Simpson said.

The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) is the national voice of Canadian physicians. Founded in 1867, the CMA is a voluntary professional organization representing more than 83,000 of Canada’s physicians and comprising 12 provincial and territorial medical associations and 60 national medical organizations. CMA’s mission is helping physicians care for patients. The CMA will be the leader in engaging and serving physicians and be the national voice for the highest standards for health and health care. – CNW

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