B.C. seeks relief for aging population costs

When people retire to B.C. from Alberta and other provinces, they bring the majority of their health care needs with them

When people retire to B.C. from Alberta and other provinces, they bring the majority of their health care needs with them, but some of the federal health care money stays behind.

That’s the message B.C. Health Minister Terry Lake is taking to the first meeting between provincial ministers and the new Liberal government in Vancouver next week.

Lake said B.C.’s objection to the health care funding formula adopted by the former Conservative government in 2011 was that it was based on population, with no age component.

“As you age your health care costs become higher and higher,” Lake said.

“So to have a pure per-capita transfer actually was a disadvantage for populations that were older, such as British Columbia, and much more of an advantage to populations like Alberta that are younger.”

Lake and Premier Christy Clark noted that B.C. is on track to double the number of hospice beds for terminally ill patients, to help keep up with the aging baby boom population and those who are moving west to retire.

“We talk about palliative care, we talk about care for people with dementia, we talk about hospice care,” Clark said. “That’s expensive, and that’s why the old funding formula needs to be restored.”

The previous formula was introduced by former Liberal prime minister Paul Martin, who in 2004 agreed to six per cent annual increases to provincial health transfers in what he called “a fix for a generation.”

After the Conservative majority government was elected in 2011, then-finance minister Jim Flaherty tied health care increases to economic growth, with a minimum increase of three per cent per year, to begin in 2017.

In a campaign stop in B.C. last fall, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised to add another $3 billion to the health care budget to start, and “sit down with the provinces immediately” to renegotiate the formula.

That meeting is set for Jan. 20 and 21 in Vancouver, chaired by federal Health Minister Jane Philpott.

Studies by the Canadian Institute for Health Information confirm the steep increase in health care costs for people as they enter their senior years, much of it for end-of-life care.

Just Posted

Column Drivesmart: Maintaining a safe following distance

I try very hard to maintain at least a two second following distance when I drive.

Column: Free with purchase: glasses with your alcohol?

One company offered a handy travel case to store your tampons in.

Woodworking workshop at Cowichan Station aims to bring young, old together

Woodworking workshop at Cowichan Station aims to bring young, old together

Education Minister hears arguments for new Cowichan Secondary

Last Friday provincial Minister of Education Rob Fleming hit the Cowichan Valley

Cowichan Hospital Auxiliary donates $40K for pumps that help patients keep independence

Imagine getting a cancer diagnosis about a year after your child is born.

Christmas Chaos will get you in the holiday spirit

The Christmas Chaos craft fair drew hundreds of shoppers

‘I will now live in consistent fear’: Allan Schoenborn granted escorted leaves

The Merritt man was deemed not criminally responsible in the killing of his three children in 2008

Hammy the deer dodges conservation officers in Prince Rupert

The famous Prince Rupert hammock deer maintains his purple threads

‘No shirt, no service, no Canada’

Shirtless Tacoma man arrested after Canadian border officials say they found meth in rental vehicle

Nasty note on B.C. windshield sparks online outrage

Vernon’s Bailey McDonald is using a painful experience to start conversation about invisible illness

Port Alberni resident robbed with weapon, thieves steal thousands

Most of the stolen currency is in Canadian $100 bills. The police investigation is ongoing.

Federal funding to combat guns, gangs and opioid crisis

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said illicit drugs are often main cause of guns, gangs violence

Most Read