TORONTO, Jan. 23, 2013 /CNW/ - British Columbians carry a $415 billion fiscal burden - the higher tax bill for increased healthcare costs over the next half-century - and should prepare now for the coming demographic squeeze, says a report released today from the C.D. Howe Institute. In "Managing the Cost of Healthcare for an Aging Population: British Columbia Confronts its Glacier," authors Colin Busby and William B.P. Robson recommend that BC move to selective prefunding of healthcare services and find cost savings and efficiencies by benchmarking against other provinces that get better bang for their bucks in some areas.
"British Columbia has been almost uniquely successful among Canadian provinces in mitigating the impact of aging on its healthcare budget - yet publicly funded healthcare's claim on provincial resources continues to rise," said Colin Busby. "Our projections show the share of demographically sensitive programs, including healthcare, education and other age-based programs, rising from 13.9 percent of provincial GDP today to 22.7 percent in 50 years' time. Meeting these demands from its own resources would require the BC government to raise the tax bite it takes from British Columbian incomes by half," added Busby.
The study projects BC's population and the impact of demographic change on government revenues and programs. Among its recommendations:
- Prefunding: finance some healthcare services similarly to the Canada Pension Plan, which converted from pay-as-you-go to a model in which a portion of premiums collected from participants today prefunds their own benefits in the future.
- Benchmarking best practices: while British Columbia spends less than most provinces on hospitals and drugs, it spends relatively more on public health programs; "Comparing bang-for-buck in other areas such as physician practices and health records could help British Columbia improve quality of care while ensuring that demographic change does not put healthcare on a collision course with other fiscal priorities," commented William Robson.
SOURCE: C.D. Howe Institute
For further information:
Colin Busby, Senior Policy Analyst, or William Robson, President and CEO, C.D. Howe Institute; 1-416-865-1904; email: [email protected].