Alward Tories Failing To Stand Up For New Brunswick Healthcare
FREDERICTON – As Canada’s national health accord expires this week, the Alward Government has failed to defend New Brunswick’s interests and push for stable federal funding in health care.
“The Harper government is changing federal funding for healthcare, and these changes will significantly hurt New Brunswick,” explained Opposition Health Critic Donald Arseneault. “Since New Brunswick will be severely hurt by Harper’s changes, I am shocked by the comments made in Ottawa yesterday by Minister Ambrose.”
During Question Period in the House of Commons on Monday the federal minister of health, Rona Ambrose, said that in her 10 months on the job no provincial health minister had asked to renew the current health accord in its present form.
“Moving to a per-capita formula is going to hurt New Brunswick tremendously,” said Arseneault. “We are the second most rural province in Canada, we are the second oldest and we don’t benefit from the economies of scale like other provinces. All this brings extra challenges to delivering health care. Given how devastating these changes will be for New Brunswick, I can’t understand why the Alward Government or Minister Flemming wouldn’t stand up for New Brunswick.”
The current health accord, which was established in 2004, expired on Monday. The federal government had previously announced that Canada wouldn’t pursue a new health accord beyond 2014, choosing instead to tie any health-transfer payments to economic growth starting in 2017.
“Some people have calculated that these changes could cost New Brunswick up to $715-million in transfer payments from Ottawa over the next 10 years,” added Arseneault. “That’s more than the entire annual budget of the Vitalité Health Network.”
Other provinces actually stand to gain from the changes to federal health transfer payments. For example, it has been calculated that Alberta’s healthcare funding would increase by 38 per cent under the new formula, representing a total increase of $1-billion per year.