Federal bump in health transfer not enough for B.C.

Funding B.C. health care

The federal government recently announced a deal that would provide the province of British Columbia a new influx of health care dollars.

This was a long-anticipated announcement, and Premier David Eby staked a great deal of hope on this new funding.

While more money from the Ottawa may seem like good news for those who rely on the healthcare system, the reality is the actual amount allocated is not nearly enough to make a significant impact. It’s around $600 million of in new healthcare money per year, or approximately $110 per resident.

Simply put, it’s a small fraction of what is actually needed to properly fund health care in BC. Additional dollars are required for family practice and primary care, with the new funding model.

There’s also a serious need in mental health and addictions, in emergency rooms, operating rooms and hospitals, as well as in surgical wait lists and diagnostics.

Here’s some added perspective.

This $600 million in additional health care transfer is equivalent to the cost overruns the B.C. government has incurred at the new Cowichan Hospital, which is currently being built. This is due, in part, to the Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) that requires only unionized construction workers being allowed to work on provincial job sites, which causes delays, and construction costs to skyrocket.

Here’s the real kicker. This same CBA agreement is keeping the Cowichan Tribes and their construction firms from working on the very hospital that is being built on their land.

Imagine that. So much for reconciliation and United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).

So, as you can see, the CBA, the delay and the higher construction costs amounts to a $600 million overrun out of a $1.4 billion build.

The project costs have gone up by almost 80%. With the $600 million already gone, B.C. is back at square one.

We need to understand the federal government is not the solution for our province’s health care crisis. The solutions have to be found in greater efficiencies and in better management. And, as well, in better governance.

My question to you this week is:

What do you think the government should do now that the feds have given their answer on healthcare funding?

I love hearing from you, and I read every email I receive. Email me at [email protected] or call my office at 250-712-3620.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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About the Author

Renee Merrifield is the BC United MLA for Kelowna - Mission and Opposition caucus whip and critic for Environment and Climate Change, Technology and Innovation and Citizens’ Services. She currently serves on the Select Standing Committee on Education as well.

A long-time resident of Kelowna, Renee started, and continues to lead, many businesses from construction and development to technology. Renee is a compassionate individual who cares about others in the community, believes in giving back and helping those in need through service.

She values your feedback and conversation, and can be reached at [email protected] or 250.712.3620

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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