Late transfer payments over health spending: PBO report

A report by the federal spending watchdog confirms the government is slipping away from its responsibility to help pay for health care for Canadians, the NDP health critic said.

The Parliamentary Budget Officer’s (PBO) Annual Report on Fiscal Sustainability, which was released on June 30, forecasted public finances over the next 75 years and identified the aging of the Canadian population as a key pressure on government spending. health.

NDP health critic Don Davies said he was pleased the report points out that Canada Health Transfer (CHT) payments cannot keep up with rising health care spending.

“I think this is a fundamental and extremely important issue in health care in Canada,” Davies said. “This is not the first time this has been reported. In fact, I know the NDP and other opposition parties, including the Bloc (Quebec), have for many years been signaling the long-term decline in federal health contributions. We have warned of the significant impact this will have on the ground if not resolved. “

Health Minister Patty Hajdu’s office did not respond to requests for comment.

The CHT is the single largest transfer the federal government makes to provinces and territories to help cover health care. Payments are made on an equal basis, per capita, and increases depend on the health of the economy.

According to the report, the ratio of the federal CHT to provincial and territorial health spending will drop from 19.7% in 2020 to 18.2% by 2095. This 1.5% drop is about $ 3.06 billion. dollars in 2020 dollars, for which provinces and territories will not be covered.

Davies said the funding formula needs to be reconsidered.

“I know there has been an attempt in the last few negotiations to introduce other factors, including demographics,” he said. “This is an ongoing problem in the federal transfer that is in constant need of attention and improvement. I don’t think we have the perfect formula yet.

For months, Canada’s prime ministers have been asking for larger transfer payments.

More recently, the Council of the Federation renewed in June its call for an immediate and unconditional increase in the CHT from 22 to 35 percent of total health spending. This represents an increase of $ 28 billion, for a total of $ 70 billion.

Premiers also urged the federal government to maintain this level over time, with a minimum annual increase of five percent.

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