POLITICS

$250M A Year Loss For B.C. In Health Funding Change

12/20/2011 06:20 EST | Updated 02/19/2012 05:12 EST

B.C. will lose as much as $250 million a year under the per capita health care funding formula being used by Ottawa because it doesn't take into account the rising health costs associated with an aging population, according to Finance Minister Kevin Falcon.

The Finance Department estimated on Tuesday that B.C. stands to receive $250 million less from Ottawa in 2014-15 because of changes in the per capita formula — a significant amount out of a total federal transfer of about $4 billion annually.

"We believe it should reflect the reality that some provinces — B.C., the Atlantic provinces and others — have issues around an aging population," Falcon said.

The health minister says he'll ask Ottawa to tweak the formula to reflect B.C.'s demographics

"We'll do that at every level — the finance minister level, the minister of health level and the premier level — but I think if we got that adjustment we'd be very happy with the rest of the package," he said.

"Per capita makes sense in its own way because you know the dollars are following where the patients are and where people live but we definitely think it has to reflect the demographic angle."

Falcon believes tweaking the formula to reflect demographics would be relatively easy for the federal government to do.

But some provinces would benefit from the new formula — neighbouring Alberta would be in line to gain about $1 billion a year.

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