Make or Break

I am an aging baby boomer. Baby boomers are considered to be those people born between 1946 and 1964. Our parents, returning from world war two, emigrants from the war, in a time of renewed prosperity had a lot of us. More of us born during this time period than in generations to come. That is the problem.

The youngest baby boomer is now 58 years old. The majority of us are retired. We are contributing less and less to tax revenues. A number of us are collecting pensions and old age security. But it is costing generations behind us a lot of money to keep us aging boomers healthy. Health wise, the cost of everything is going up and we are in a crunch.

“In 2023, it doesn’t work anymore. We have to change the way we deliver health care in Canada.”

The person above id Jean-Yves Duclos. He is Canada’s Health Minister and he made the above statement on a Sunday morning news show. The Prime Minister and Canada’s premiers will be getting together today to find solutions to Canada’s health care delivery issues. There are a number of them. Nursing shortages, doctor shortages, emergency room closures are just some of the issues. The COVID pandemic exacerbated an already overburdened system. Burnout led to a number of health staff departures.

It is complicated. The Canada Health Act (CHA) was passed a number of years ago. The purpose was to ensure that all Canadians have reasonable access to insured health services, on a prepaid basis. There are five principles of the CHA including universality, portability and accessibility. The delivery of health care falls under the jurisdiction of the provinces and the territories. For years, the provinces/territories have complained that the federal government is not transferring sufficient funds to their jurisdiction to carry out health care within the CHA principles. In the past, they have also demanded that any additional funds transferred to the provinces/territories be done with no strings attached.

This is where we baby boomers come in. Duclos stated the following,

“Our population is aging. Our population of workers is also aging. More family doctors, more nurses will be leaving in the next years. More chronic diseases, more infectious diseases, there will be future pandemics.”

It is all our fault. That being said, Prime Minister Trudeau will be meeting with leaders who have widely varying views on health care delivery. There are Premiers, such as our, in Alberta, who are looking into aspects of private health care delivery, such as what the US has. On the other extreme, there are leaders, provincial and federal, who do not want to touch private health care delivery with a ten-foot pole.

Regardless, this meeting today could shape Canada’s health care delivery model for the long term future. It could or it could all fall apart. Let’s hope some kind of consensus is achieved.

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