OTTAWA – The Trudeau government offered provincial premiers $46.1 billion in new funding over the next decade for health care, but the new funds will come with significant strings attached.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau presented his opening offer to provincial premiers on Tuesday. In total over the next decade health-care transfers were already set to rise considerably, delivering a grand total of $142 billion through the Canada Health Transfer, which is then divided among the provinces based on their populations.
That number will climb further under the Liberals deal with higher payments in the first five years that will add $17.3 billion more to the system than the current plan. Provinces will also get another $2 billion as an urgent top-up this year. The health-care transfer currently rises by at least three per cent or the rate of GDP growth, whichever number is higher. For the next five years it will run by a minimum of five per cent.
On an annual basis, five years from now, the federal government will be sending $60.3 billion per year to the provinces and 10 years from now it will be over $72 billion per year, up considerably from the approximately $45 billion it spends today.
But that money will only come if provinces agree to data sharing and to continue their health spending at their current levels, the federal government wants the new money to boost health care spending, not supplant provincial dollars.
There is another $25 billion available for provinces for bilateral deals, but that money must be spent on specific areas, including mental health, family doctors, recruiting health workers and modernizing the health system.
Premiers were set to respond Tuesday afternoon. They came into the meeting seeking a significant increase to the health transfer, which they wanted with no strings attached, a figure that would have seen the federal commitment rise by $28 billion in just the next year, with more money coming every year after that.
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