B.C. Liberals share the blame for expiry of Health Accord

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20140408_EvergreenPresser_Print_CaelieFrampton_004VICTORIA – The B.C. Liberal government shares the blame for the expiry of the Health Accord and its impact on the future of public health care, say the New Democrats.

“New Democrats had been demanding for years before the 2014 expiry of the accord that the Liberals insist that Ottawa live up to its historic obligations to funding public health care,” said New Democrat health spokesperson Judy Darcy.

The Health Accord ensured that the federal government’s transfer payments to the provinces would increase by 6 per cent each year. With the expiry of the agreement a year ago, those increases dropped to 3 per cent annually.

“The decision by the Liberals to meekly accept what Ottawa was offering means that British Columbia could be losing as much as $5 billion in transfers over the next 10 years,” said Darcy.

“British Columbians deserve to have a government that is an ardent defender of a robust public health care system, but the Liberals utterly failed.”

Rallies are being held across the province to mark the anniversary and call on governments to re-commit to public health care; Darcy will be attending the rally in New Westminster at Sapperton Park.

“Think about what $5 billion less in funding to health care really means,” said Darcy. “It means longer waits for surgeries. It means more over-crowded emergency rooms. Hundreds of thousands of people remaining without primary family care. Worsening care for frail seniors.

“The upshot is that the federal Conservatives have been pushing for more two-tiered medicine – health care depending on the size of your bank balance – and the Liberals were content with letting that happen.”

Darcy noted that while the Liberals showed little interest in pressing Ottawa for more funding, they were not so reluctant to increase MSP premiums again this year.

“British Columbians are paying more, and as we’re seeing increased wait times for surgeries and even primary care, they’re getting less health care from their government.”