The Bull Meter: Michael Ignatieff on the Conservatives' investments in health care

Is it true Harper hasn't invested "a new dime" in health care?

[mac_quote person=”Michael Ignatieff” date=”April 17, 2011″][Harper] has not added a new dime to the money committed [to health care] by [former] prime minister [Paul] Martin.[/mac_quote]

[mac_bull score=”4″]

In 2004, then Liberal Prime Minister Paul Martin promised to “fix health care for a generation” by committing to a 10-year guaranteed six per cent yearly increase on health transfers from the federal government to the provinces and territories. This deal doesn’t expire until 2014, meaning Harper has not had to commit “a new dime” to health care—there’s a six per cent escalator built in to the agreement Martin negotiated in 2004. And the Department of Finance breakdown of federal support to the provinces and territories shows the Canada Health Transfer has indeed increased by 6 per cent annually over the past few years.

So the Liberal leader is being misleading when he says Harper hasn’t added a “new dime” to health care. As Morris Barer, director of UBC’s Centre for Health Services and Policy Research, put it, “It looks to me like Iggy is being a bit disingenuous by suggesting that the 6 per cent was an old commitment and that the feds would need to be committing to annual increases greater than 6 per cent in order for the Liberals to view any of it as ‘new money.’”

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Michael Ignatieff in Vancouver

Department of Finance Health Transfers

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