Health Care Costs Climbing
Prince George, B.C. – The Auditor General for B.C., Carol Bellringer, says health care spending is rising at a rapid rate.
“Between 2013 and 2018, health spending is projected to increase by $2.7 billion,” said Auditor General Carol Bellringer in her new report which is an update from an information piece her office published in 2013.
Bellringer also notes not all areas of B.C.’s health-care system are expanding at the same rate. From 2012-13 to 2015-16, acute-care (emergency, post-surgical, critical-care) spending went up 11%; residential care (seniors’ homes, community group homes) went up 5%; community care (in-home nursing care) went up 14%; mental-health and substance-use services went up 3%. Public health and wellness (prevention programs, screening, communicable disease control) went down 1%.
A significant portion of the province’s health-care funding comes from the federal government via the Canada Health Transfer. The Province received $4.5 billion last year. How much is transferred is about to change. Since 2006, the transfer has grown by 6% a year, but as of April 2017 onward, it will only grow by about 3% a year. Under the recently signed agreement with Health Canada, B.C. will also receive an additional $1.4 billion from the federal government over the next ten years.
In its 2015 report on B.C.’s fiscal sustainability, Bellringer’s office noted rising health-care costs might threaten the provincial government’s ability to provide services and meet financial commitments, both now and in the future.