New Brunswick has one of the oldest populations in the country. In 2019, 21.3 per cent of our population was 65 or older, putting our province just behind Newfoundland and Labrador with the oldest population. The Canadian average is 17.5 per cent.
Physicians know that older patients require more frequent health-care interactions than younger patients. As a result, “older” provinces must spend more than “younger” provinces to support the health needs of its population.
The New Brunswick Medical Society (NBMS) has joined its Atlantic counterparts and the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) in advocating for the federal government to deliver a new, demographic-based top up to the Canada Health Transfer to better support provinces with an older population. A 2018 analysis by the Conference Board of Canada found that without additional investment, the federal share of health funding will fall below 20 per cent of total health spending by governments by 2026.
Simply put, the current financial arrangement between the federal and provincial governments does not reflect the costs associated with caring for our aging population.
The Atlantic medical associations and CMA are recommending that the federal government deliver additional funding to cover a share of the health costs associated with the populations aging in each province/territory, consistent with the current federal share of total health costs (22 per cent).
For New Brunswick, this would mean an additional $798 million over 10 years. In a province with limited resources, that funding could have a tremendous impact on the future of our health care system and result in better access to care for patients.
We continue to advocate for more support from the federal government to support the health of New Brunswickers.