In a meeting with premiers, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that the Canadian federal government is prepared to spend $196.1 billion over the next 10 years to cover health care, an additional $46.2 billion to the existing budget.
However, in order to access any benefits of the system, Canadians will have to give up more of their private medical data.
The proposal, which is aimed at fixing the struggling health care system, will start with territories and provinces getting an unconditional $2 billion additional funding to the Canada Health Transfer (CHT) to address what, according to the federal government, is “immediate pressure on the health-care system, especially in pediatric hospitals, emergency rooms and surgical and diagnostic backlogs.”
The proposal also includes plans to increase funding to the CHT, starting with a 5% annual increase over the next five years. The funding will boost CHT by about 61% over the next decade.
However, before accessing the increased CHT funding, provinces have to commit to improving how health data is “collected, shared, used and reported to Canadians to promote greater transparency on results, and to help manage public health emergencies,” the government said in documents provided to the press. It argued that the data is required to monitor health-care outcomes and performance.
The government also wants the data to be more efficiently shared between doctors, pharmacists, hospital systems, and specialists.
“Canadians should be able to access their own health information and benefit from it being shared between health workers across health settings and across jurisdictions,” the government said.
The premiers said they would assess the proposal, but said they expected more money.
Head of the Council of the Federation, the association that represents premiers, Heather Stefanson of Manitoba said they were “disappointed” with the proposal.
“It’s significantly less than what we’re looking for,” she added.
The premiers had proposed an additional $28 billion a year in funding to CHT.
Stefanson said that the premiers would assess the proposal and meet again in the next few days.
Asked by the press if that was the final offer, Trudeau said: “This is the offer we put forward on the table. This is the billions of dollars that are there for provinces and we certainly look forward to working with them to be able to deliver not just that money, but those health-care improvements to citizens across the country.”
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