Changes in the Canadian National Health Care doesn’t Factor in Age, a Problem for British Columbia

Posted by PITHOCRATES - January 14th, 2012

Week in Review

Many in the United States (population about 300 million) who favor national health care like to point to their neighbors to the north.  Canada (population around 30 million).  Where they believe there is a health care utopia.  But it’s not quite the utopia.  It’s pretty expensive.  And they’re always looking for ways to cut costs (see B.C. premier balks at federal health funding plan posted 1/13/2012 on CBC News British Columbia).

B.C. Premier Christy Clark says announced changes to federal government health-care transfers to the provinces won’t work for British Columbia, where a rapidly growing senior population is dramatically increasing medical costs to the province…

“You cannot allocate health-care dollars on a per capita basis until you adjust it for age,” Clark said in Vancouver during an interview with Rosemary Barton on the CBC Newsnet program Power & Politics. “You just can’t run a country or look after senior citizens [unless] that’s the way you do it.”

Clark said the fastest growing demographic in B.C. is people over 85, and the province would be especially hard hit unless the per-capita formula changes.

“It costs an average $22,000 a year for health care for someone who is over 85 versus $2,000 for someone who is 29 years old,” the premier said.

Canada has the same problem all nations have.  Including the U.S.  An aging population.  That consumes more and more health care services.  Which means the problem of trying to pay for health care is a problem that won’t go away.

Clark did praise the federal decision to give provinces more responsibility for health-care policies, saying it is a step in the right direction.

“They are going to vacate the policy field … which provincial premiers have been asking for for [sic] something like 30 years, [to] do the policy in health care. So I think that’s a great thing.”

For 30 years the provinces have been trying to decentralize their national health care system.  Some 30 years later they finally get their wish.  Which, incidentally, is the direction Britain (population about 60 million) is trying to take their NHS.  And yet the U.S. is moving in the opposite direction with Obamacare.  The country with five times the population of the UK.  And ten times the population of Canada.  Which means they’ll have 5 and 10 times the cost problems of the UK and Canada.  If they are lucky.

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