BC Health Coalition

February 15, 2011 18:19 ET

No news budget bad news for seniors

Budget secures BC as second lowest in Canada on per capita health care spending while penalizing health care user fees continue to rise

Attention: Assignment Editor, Business/Financial Editor, Health/Medical Editor, News Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor VICTORIA, B.C., NEWS RELEASE--(Marketwire - Feb. 15, 2011) - The BC Health Coalition says that the provincial budget, which secures BC as the second lowest per capita health care spender, does not address the pressing need for support for health care services.

"This budget shows no improvement in support for health authorities to address budget cuts previously handed down to them from the province," says Alice Edge, BC Health Coalition co-chair. "The province appears to plan instead to continue to levy regressive user fees in order to pay for health care services."

Edge points to residential care rate hikes, "convalescent care" fees and higher MSP premiums: this year seniors were hit with a second residential care rate increase totaling up to 80 per cent of residents' after tax income.

The rate increase followed last year's introduction of so-called "convalescent care" fees that are now charged to patients who need hospital care to recover from illness or injury. The fees sparked province-wide public outcry over the levying of fees for core hospital services previously provided to patients free of charge as required by the Canada Health Act.

"These fees are causing extreme emotional and financial distress. We are hearing from British Columbians who just can't afford the cost for care, many of whom are now facing collection agencies," says Edge. "And this is happening while the province is boasting that we're the second lowest in health care spending - that's no way to fund our health care system."

Edge notes that user fees could lead to higher long-term costs if patients end up leaving hospitals or residential care facilities before they are ready in order to avoid the fees.

"The province needs to stop downloading costs to our most vulnerable people. Instead, we need to invest in public home and community care services in order to lower long-term costs by reducing pressure on the more expensive primary and acute care systems," says Edge.

"Failure to properly fund health care services that improve health and prevent increased acuity is short-sighted and leads to increased costs in the long run."

Contact Information

  • Adam Lynes-Ford, BCHC Medicare Campaigner, BC Health Coalition
    Primary Phone: 604-787-6560