Thursday, December 22, 2011

Flarethy's Bomb Before the Holiday

Right before holidays is usually the greatest time to dumb documents that you don't want to know about. Our Finance minister follows suit with this bad tradition, and dumb the bomb that Canada isn't going to increase health care spending by 6% every year after 2017. Now for many people (including me) we all speculated even during the election that the Conservatives weren't going to increase health care sending by the same 6% like Paul Martin did. The Conservative platform barely had a page on this issue. And the paragraph that is was written on was barely worth the paper it was printed on. It had the most ambiguous promises. Like

we will work collaboratively with the provinces and territories to renew the Health Accord and to continue reducing wait times

 By the way when Flaherthy announced this "Six of them (premiers)  lined up to speak out against the decision, citing a lack of negotiation with two years left to reach a new agreement. The Conservatives love doing terrible things before a holiday break in the hope that no one will notice, but this issue won't go away Harper. This Health Care debate is going to go on till 2017.
The current Health accord increases health care spending by 6%. Jim Flaherthy says he will increase health care spending by Nominal GDP meaning take inflation and add it to GDP growth, and Flaherthy says 3% increase is the minimum increase. 

Flaherthy answer is taking us for fools by saying Health care spending will increase every year. Yes it will but the rate of increase counts! If you spend one dollar more every year on health care then yes health care spending will reach records every year, but the provinces will need more than low increase in spending to reduce waiting times like the Liberals did in 2004 and it worked! Thankfully the 6% will stay till 2018.

Now I agree we do need to think of spending over the long run. I think that our government should look at preventing people from even needing a lot of health care. By taxing junk food and fast food chains the, looking at a national policy to stop obesity etc.. if  we do this the amount of people who will need our health care system will decline and will lower waiting times. If our goverment did this then a MINOR decrease in rate of spending would make sense. Increases like 5%-4%, because wait times will be reduced by the policies mentioned above. So what Flaherty is doing isn't bad ONLY as long as he puts policies to reduce waiting times like the ones mentioned above and our Finance minister isn't.

P.S Flaherthy plan to link health care spending to growth and inflation is good idea, but it seemed like it isn't being forced on the provinces without much compromise. 3% increase in Health care spending is fine as long as prevention is taking care of reducing waiting times. If we battle obesity and tax bad food and have a healthier Canada our Health care system won't need 6% increase every year. 

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