Retired teachers weigh in on health

Kamp -
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The federal government is risking a national crisis in the health care system by cutting back on funding just as baby boomers reach a time of life when they will put more demands on the system.

That was the message that representatives of the Ridge Meadows Retired Teachers brought to MP Randy Kamp last week.

President Julie Zoney, Elizabeth Jakeway and Barb Neff of the Retired Teachers were joined by Bob Foster of Seniors Connect as they met with the veteran Conservative.

“We wanted to bring the concern to him, and ask for his help in bringing it to the government,” said Zoney.

“We’re not trying to make it a political thing – we want it to be a people thing.”

The issue is a cut in funding through the National Health Accord, which has risen by six per cent each year.

“As our population is aging, we need our health system to improve,” argued Zoney.  “Every Canadian should have the right to good health care.”

There are more than 500 retired teachers in Maple Ridge, and about 150 of them are active members of the club.

Kamp denied health care has been cut – but the federal increase in health care funding will slow.

He said the federal government will contribute $30 billion in federal grants for health care this year.

“We expect them to rise to $40 billion by the end of the decade, so it doesn’t look like a cut to me,” said Kamp.

He noted that under the Health Accord, federal funding for health care has risen by six per cent every year.

“There was some catching up to do,” he said.

That agreement will expire at the end of March. The federal government will increase health grants by a new formula which will be tied to the Gross Domestic Product – but it will never be less than a three per cent increase in any year.

“We think there does need to be a long-term, stable funding formula.” said Kamp, but he added that six per cent every year is too large an increase.

“Eventually, you would be in the hundreds of billions of dollars.”

He noted that although the 10-year health accord is about to expire, the federal government will maintain the six-per-cent increase through the 2017-2017 fiscal year. Then the new GDP-based rate will kick in.

Zoney said Kamp should take residents’ concerns back to Ottawa.

“He’s our representative – the person we put into office,” said Zoney.

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