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​CMA to premiers: Federal funding needed to meet seniors' care needs

New analysis reveals that provinces and territories will grapple with $93 billion in new health care costs caring for our aging population in the next decade

​Ottawa, ON – July 17, 2018 –The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) is calling on Canada's premiers to send a clear message to the federal government: It's time for them to step up with new funding to cover the federal share of health care costs required to meet the needs of seniors.

A new analysis conducted by the Conference Board of Canada on behalf of the CMA shows that population aging will drive 20% of increases in health care spending over the next decade. According to the study, Meeting the Care Needs of Canada's Aging Population​​, this will amount to an additional $93 billion in health care spending − the equivalent of almost 2% of all provincial and territorial government spending.

"Our health care system was designed at a time when the median age in Canada was 27. Today, it's 40 and our system is not coping well," says Dr. Laurent Marcoux, president of the CMA. "Canadians and physicians are right to be worried about the demands that will be placed on the health system in the future."

In fact, a new Ipsos survey has found that half of Canadians don't think the health system will be able to meet the need of seniors.

While an additional 5.1 million Canadians are expected to reach the age of 65 by 2026, the Canada Health Transfer does not account for demographic shifts. Individuals over 65 currently account for one-fifth of Canada's population and consume about half of the health care costs. Through the Canada Health Transfer, the federal government contributes about 22% of public spending on health care. Without additional funding, the federal share will fall below 20% of public spending, leaving provinces and territories to deal with the shortfall.

A new demographic top-up to the Canada Health Transfer of $21.1 billion over the next 10 years – or 0.6% of federal spending – is critical to ensure provinces and territories can meet the needs of our aging population.

"Our health care system is something we cherish, but it's clear that Canadians are concerned the system won't be able to meet their future needs. The federal government must recognize the time has come to deliver a demographic top-up to the provinces and territories. The CMA is ready to work alongside the provinces and territories to advocate for this new funding," adds Dr. ​Marcoux.