Alberta government fighting back against federal healthcare cuts
Health Minister Sarah Hoffman has joined with other provincial-territorial ministers to argue against an annual decrease in the Canada Health Transfer.
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Alberta Health Minister Sarah Hoffman is in Ottawa hoping to fend off cuts to federal government healthcare transfers.
Hoffman sat in a meeting of health and finance ministers from across Canada on Monday to discuss federal cutbacks to the Canada Health Transfer (CHT), an annual payment made to each province and territory to address healthcare costs.
Hoffman said that the meetings were positive for relations between the federal and provincial-territorial governments.
“The fact that we have this open dialogue around what our struggles are is beneficial to us as Canadians,” said Hoffman.
The ministers are meeting with federal Health Minister Jane Philpott on Tuesday in Ottawa, and asking for the government to reconsider the legislation that will slash the CHT from six per cent to a minimum of three per cent starting in 2017.
In Calgary alone, seniors will comprise 15 per cent of the city’s population by 2042, according to a City of Calgary study. Similar circumstances have ministers across the country worried they won’t be able to afford healthcare for an aging senior population.
The ministers are requesting that a First Ministers’ Meeting on health care sustainability be called to reach a long-term agreement on health care funding. If a meeting isn’t possible, they’re asking that the federal government postpone cuts to the growth rate of the CHT until they can reach a solution that reflects the needs of Canadians.
The negative budgetary impact for all provinces is estimated at more than $1 billion in the first year alone, according to a document released after the meeting of provincial-territorial ministers, putting pressure on the long-term sustainability of their health systems.
Quebec’s Health Minister Gaetan Barrette said that if the provinces don’t receive proper funding from the federal government, healthcare services with suffer.
“Even if we’re transforming the system are we able to provide proper care to citizens? The answer is a blatant no if healthcare is cut to the provinces.”
The CHT has been in place since the 2004 Health Accord was signed, and the former conservative government announced the reduction after 12 years of six per cent increases.