ublic health care is under attack.
In December 2011, the Harper Conservatives announced they would cut funding for public health care by billions of dollars over the next decade. The federal government will cut funding for public health care $21 to $31 billion from 2017-2024.
These cuts have real implications, especially for a smaller province like Nova Scotia.
Today in Nova Scotia, the federal contribution to public health care accounts to just 20% of the total spending on public health care, or $1 in $5. By 2024, when Harper’s cuts are in full effect, it will drop to just 18%, or $1 in $6.
When public health care was created, it was supposed to be a cost-shared program where the federal and provincial governments would each provide 50% of the funding, $1 for $1. But, since public health care was created the federal government has been steadily reducing its contribution. They never made it to a full 50% and peaked around 33% for total funding, $1 in $3.
For Nova Scotia, by 2024, we will be losing more than $157 million annually in federal health care support as a result of the Harper Conservative’s cuts.
What could we do with $157 million you might ask?
- Provide dental insurance for the 65,000 children in Nova Scotia without it, or
- Help seniors stay in their home by expanding access to home care, or
- Improve provincial Pharmacare programs to help Nova Scotians with the rising cost of prescription drugs, or
- Open a dozen new Community Health Centres so all Nova Scotians, especially the 45,000 of us without a family doctor, have access to primary health care, or
- Invest in midwives and nurse practitioner to ease the strain on our hospitals and improve care for patients, or
- Hire over 1000 more health care workers to reduce wait times and improve care.
Those are just a few options, and with $157 million we could do more than far more than one of them. But federal cuts to public health care make the dream of universal health care impossible.
We need federal leadership, not cuts.