The health care systems of Canada and the United States face a serious problem in terms of funding, as well as quality of care, said Dr. Rana Batalha, the chief executive officer of the Canadian Association of Physicians and Surgeons.
“We’re trying to work on that,” Batalhal told Al Jazeera on Friday.
“But I think there’s still a lot of work to do, and it will be a challenge.
But it’s an issue, and that’s where we are, and the challenge is going to be the funding.”
Batalha said the system is in the midst of a major reorganization, one that has the potential to be catastrophic.
The federal government has said it will spend $1.3 trillion on health care over the next decade.
Batallas comments echo that of Health Minister Erin O’Toole, who has warned that the federal government is facing a “fiscal cliff” in which the federal debt will soar.
While Batalas comments come in the context of the budget crisis, it is also indicative of a long-term issue, with the Canadian economy struggling to grow and the number of Canadians without health insurance expected to grow.
According to a new report from the Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO), Canada has a debt of about $1 trillion, the equivalent of about 3 percent of GDP.
As of this June, the federal budget deficit was $1,845 billion, according to the PBO.
PBO chief economist Ian Gordon said that over the coming decades, the debt will grow.
“We can’t be too concerned about the debt,” Gordon told Aljazeera.
Gordon pointed to a 2015 report by the PBoE that projects the national debt will exceed $16 trillion by 2045, and said Canada is on track to meet its obligations to pay the $1-trillion in debt by 2060.
That means that in the coming years, the number that is insured by insurance will rise by more than 50 percent, according the report.
Canada has a “high proportion of uninsured and underinsured individuals” who do not have access to health care, Gordon said.
In the first nine months of 2017, Canada recorded 5,826 new enrollees, the majority of whom were under the age of 35, according an analysis from the National Hospital Association (NHA).
As a result of this underfunding, Batalhas fears that the number will rise.
“[We] have a lot more people who are uninsured and that will mean we’re not going to have adequate numbers of doctors to serve those people,” he said.
“There are a lot fewer people in the hospital right now than there were a few years ago, so it’s going to take time to get to that point.”
Dr. Daniel Laitin, a public health doctor who directs the Health Research Centre at the University of Guelph, told Aljea that “health care is a fundamental service for Canadians, and when we’re dealing with that it is important that we invest in it, but we also need to get it right.”
“There is a real disconnect between what is going on with the funding of health care and what’s happening with the services that people need,” Laitins told AlJazeera.
“The funding is not being provided properly and it’s not being distributed efficiently.
[T]he health care workforce is shrinking, and [we are] seeing an erosion of the services and facilities that are needed to care for our patients.”
According the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), the private sector has “a $9.8 trillion [gross] investment portfolio and a $3 trillion [net] workforce” in health care services, while the federal Government “has only a $9 billion [gross investment portfolio] and a total of $2.6 trillion [of net workforce].”
However, the CFIB argued that, if the Canadian Government “re-balances its investments and provides more support for health care to help patients, it will reduce the amount of money needed to cover health care expenses and improve the quality of services,” according to its website.
Laitin pointed out that the United Kingdom has also experienced a rise in the number, type and quality of health services, but that the system has been “more than $2 trillion [strongly] underfunded for decades.”
“[But] we’ve done it, and we’ve been able to provide good services and that has resulted in a large reduction in costs,” Laimins said.
Laila said that if the United Sates system was to be taken over by a Canadian government, the current system “would have to be radically restructured.”
The health system currently provides care to more than 1.2 million people.
It is currently funded by a variety of sources, including private donations, the Federal Government,