Budget 2014 triggers Harper’s plan to dismantle national health care

Excerpts from an article by Michael McBane in the February 17, 2014 issue of The Hill Times

“Federal transfer payments to provinces were first used in order to establish national standards in health care delivery across Canada. On Tuesday, February 11th, Prime Minister Harper turned this on its head by tabling a budget that will use federal transfers in order to eliminate national standards in health care.”

“With Harper’s cuts to health care funding, the share of federal CHT [Canada Health Transfer] cash payments in provincial-territorial health spending will decrease substantially from 20.4 per cent in 2010-11 to less than 12% over the next 25 years. This, according to the Parliamentary Budget Office, will bring the level of federal cash support for health care to historical lows. National Medicare was implemented across Canada by provinces and territories on the understanding that the federal government would contribute roughly 50 percent of the spending on Medicare.”

“The shrinking level of federal funding for health care will be matched by a withdrawal of federal enforcement of national standards contained in the Canada Health Act. The use of the spending power to establish national standards is common in all OECD federations. National Medicare will clearly not survive this ‘cut and run’ course being set by the Harper government. Instead, it will fragment into 14 separate pieces where access to essential care will depend on where you live and your ability to pay.”

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