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Paul Martin’s budget falls far short of what’s required to restore the health of Canada’s Medicare system.

“It looks like a big drop until you see the size of the bucket,” said National President Judy Darcy. The $11.5 billion in funding for health care promised over the next five years won’t begin to repair the damage that’s been done by much deeper cuts to the health care system since 1995. Even after five years of increases, federal spending on health will amount to barely more than 10 per cent of total health spending, well below the 25 per cent that is needed to protect public health care.

“Canadians are getting older but Paul Martin isn’t getting any wiser,” said Darcy. “Within five years, funding levels will return to the point they were five years ago. But where’s the increase for inflation, for population growth and to cope with the fact that Canadians are aging?”

Despite the fact patients are being discharged from hospital quicker and sicker, home care has been ignored. “Without a proper system of public home care and long term care, the whole system backs up into the emergency room,” said Darcy.