NDP PEI Leader Mike Redmond has urged government to develop a long-term health care plan that includes a consultative development process with all Islanders.
“The cost of our health care system is staggering. Consecutive Liberal and Conservative Governments have only planned and budgeted from election to election. It is no longer acceptable to govern in such a short-sighted way. We need to look at health care with a longer view. We need to ensure that the system is sustainable and that all Islanders have access to the care they need,” stated Redmond.
Government statistics indicate that the health care budget has grown from $360 million to $570 million in the past five years. “The federal government is decreasing transfer payments. Premier Ghiz and Minister Currie seem inactive on the social determinants of health. If these trends continue, the health care budget on Prince Edward Island could easily balloon to over $1 billion dollars annually,” explained the NDP Leader.
The province is facing major issues in terms of the social determinants of health. One in four children lives in poverty and 17,000 Islanders live below the poverty line. “This Liberal Government has no affordable housing strategy, an ineffective approach to addictions, and very poor preventative health measures. Like previous governments, the Ghiz government can’t see past the next election and is trapped in short-term thinking,” stated Redmond.
Ottawa’s reduction in health care transfer payments means that PEI only receives 19 cents on the dollar from the Harper Government. “We need a Premier that has the courage to stand up to the Federal Government and Stephen Harper to say that this is completely unacceptable. This country was built on a Medicare system introduced by Tommy Douglas, the founder of the modern NDP. The original funding formula was a 50/50 split between the federal government and the provinces. Our current Prime Minister has obviously forgotten this,” stated the NDP Leader.
An NDP government would develop a comprehensive long-term plan that details all health care costs, including health administration and fees paid to Island EMS. “We will work to ensure adequate transfer payments from the federal government so that PEI can have a sustainable health care system. A long-term health care plan will put us in a better position to negotiate with the federal government, concluded Redmond.
Leader, NDP PEI