Many Canadians believe that Canada has a single national health care plan. This is not the case.
Canada has a national health insurance program of 13 interlocking provincial and territorial health insurance plans, which share certain common features and basic standards of coverage.
Through these plans, all insured people have access to medically necessary hospital and physician services on a prepaid basis.
As we face upcoming discussions on the future of health care across Canada, understanding how these plans are funded and administered is important. With primary jurisdiction over the administration and delivery of health care services, the provinces and territories set their own priorities, administer their health care budgets and manage their own resources.
The federal government makes cash contributions to the provinces and territories under the federal Canada Health Transfer and oversees the Canada Health Act.
The Canada Health Act sets out the criteria and conditions which must be satisfied by the provinces and territories in order for them to qualify for their full share of the CHT, namely public administration, comprehensiveness, universality, portability and accessibility.
Since our government’s election in 2006, health care funding has grown at record high levels from $20 billion a year when we formed government to nearly $27 billion this year.
Additionally, the federal government recently made a further commitment to protect transfer growth in 2014-15 and beyond while being fiscally responsible.
This means that the federal Canada Health Transfer will continue to grow each year at record high levels from $30 billion per year in 2013-14 to $38 billion per year in 2018-19.
In total, we will be investing over $178 billion in our health system from 2013-14 to 2018-19.
Like most Canadians across the country, constituents in Kelowna-Lake Country want a health care system that consistently provides timely, efficient, quality care and keeps pace with modern innovations in medicine.
Our federal government is doing its part by ensuring that your tax dollars are invested in long-term, stable health care funding and that the basic principles of health care in Canada are upheld.
It is now up to every one of us to determine what kind of health care system we want today and in the future so that an efficient and sustainable health care plan can be achieved in the province of B.C.
For more information on the Canada Health Act or the federal government’s responsibilities and actions related to the health of Canadians, please go to www.hc-sc.gc.ca or feel free to contact my office at email@example.com.
Ron Cannan is the Conservative MP for Kelowna-Lake Country.