Local MLA leads search for more sustainable health care system

Lake-Country Liberal MLA Norm Letnick ready to tackle one of B.C. biggest challenges.

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick says he is looking forward to leading a committee of MLAs from both sides of the legislature to find ways of curing what ails the B.C. heath care system.

Letnick, chairman of the new Select Standing Committee on Health, said Wednesday the first phase of his committee’s work will be crunching the numbers and reviewing studies and other research to prepare for looking at alternative strategies to mitigate what many believe will be the huge impact of the aging of Baby Boomers on the B.C. health care system.

“First we have to come to some sort of an agreement about what the numbers are telling us,” said Letnick, who was tabbed to lead the committee by Christy Clark shortly after she was elected Liberal party leader and premier.

Letnick said there is a widely help perception that the current system is not sustainable given that many Baby Boomers will become seniors over the next 10 years.

In launching the first phase of the committee’s work, written submissions in the form of peer-reviewed academic studies and other “high-quality” research and reports are being sought from interested parties to help quantify the impact of demographic challenges, system use, inflation and other factors.

Letnick said he hopes to have the first phase wrapped up by the spring, the second phase, where the public will be invited to give input about proposed solutions at hearings across the province, completed by next fall and the third phase, identifying what strategies are acceptable to the public, by the spring of 2013.

“I want this all wrapped up before the next provincial election,” he said. The next election is scheduled for May 16, 2013.

The 11-member committee, whose deputy chairman is the NDP’s Mike Farnworth, is made up of Liberal and NDP MLAs, including two former health ministers, Moira Stilwell and Colin Hansen.



Kelowna Capital News