Budget 2012 Misses Mark on Health Leadership, Says CHA

Ottawa, Ontario – March 29, 2012 – The Canadian Healthcare Association (CHA) notes that Budget 2012 reflects the government’s focus on creating jobs and economic growth for Canada. But when it comes to health system improvement, CHA asks, where is the federal leadership?

“Budget 2012 addresses a number of important health concerns,” said Pamela C. Fralick, President and CEO, Canadian Healthcare Association. “But, Canada will not have the world class health system it deserves with a piecemeal approach. Federal leadership is a necessary component of comprehensive health system improvement.”CHA was pleased by announcements for an important network of mental health researchers focusing on depression and PTSD, genomics research, and research on interprofessional healthcare teams through McMaster University, and alternate sources for medical isotopes. While student loan forgiveness for doctors and nurses who work in rural and remote areas is welcome, CHA would like to see this extended to other health professions.

CHA also welcomes announcements of investments in education and water infrastructure that acknowledge the urgent need to address social determinants of health in Aboriginal communities. Regrettably, the promised amounts fall short of expectations, based on dialogues over the past few months. We hope that these allocation decisions signal just a starting point in the government’s commitment to address such issues.

On the other hand, we don’t yet know how cuts to Health Canada and PHAC will affect programs and/or staffing levels, but it is unlikely that all of the anticipated savings will be achieved through the new shared services model for the two organizations. Cuts to CIHR will also reduce funds available to support health research, while cuts to Statistics Canada could hamper our ability to monitor health and identify where services are needed. And modifications to GST rebate eligibility are modest and insufficient, given the inequities that exist across the country, and across types of health facilities.

The federal government’s December, 2011 commitment to maintaining stable and predictable funding for health was a welcome first step. However, the lack of accountability frameworks in this funding to date, combined with the piecemeal approach in today’s budget announcement, leaves CHA looking for an increased federal leadership role for health.

The Canadian Healthcare Association has been an active champion of Canada’s health system for over 80 years. We are the only federation of provincial and territorial health associations and organizations representing the breadth of the health system. Learn more about our solutions to health system challenges at www.cha.ca. Follow us on Twitter: @CHA_ACS.

The Canadian Healthcare Association is the recognized champion for a sustainable and accountable quality health system that provides access to a continuum of comparable services throughout Canada, while upholding a strong, publicly-funded system as an essential, foundational component of this system. We are a leader in developing, and advocating for, health policy solutions that meet the needs of Canadians.

Contact Information

Teresa Neuman, Communications Specialist
613-241-8005, ext. 205
[email protected]
Cell: 613-282-6003

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