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Ontario budget promises billions in health care

first_img Related news Ontario’s Liberal government is promising to inject billions of new dollars into health care in its first balanced budget in a decade, a fiscal plan designed to appeal to nearly everyone in the province ahead of an election next summer. Crafted by a party in power since 2003 that has been faring poorly in recent polls, the $141-billion budget tabled Thursday has measures targeted at both young and old, people who access the health-care system and anyone who owns or rents a home and pays an electricity bill. Share this article and your comments with peers on social media Facebook LinkedIn Twitter Keywords Budgets,  Ontario Allison Jones center_img B.C. budget forecasts three years of billion-dollar deficits Ontario to deliver its second pandemic budget on March 24 The centrepiece of the plan is a $465-million-a-year pharmacare program for children and youth, which would cover prescription medications to treat most acute and common chronic conditions for people 24 and under, with no deductible or co-payment. It would start Jan. 1. The plan will be most beneficial for youth who currently are not covered under private plans or the Ontario Drug Benefit program for social assistance recipients, but government officials weren’t able to say how many people that captures. In total, the government is promising $11.5 billion in new spending on health care over three years, including money to address hospital overcrowding, funding for mental health and addiction services, cash for hospital construction projects and home care funding. The budget also includes funds for new child care spaces, money to build schools, measures aimed at seniors and previously announced cuts to electricity bills and plans to cool the housing market. Much of the projected spending, however, is spread out over multiple years, well past the June 2018 election. But Finance Minister Charles Sousa said his “socially progressive” budget is not a ploy for votes. “These decisions that we’re making today are not based on election cycles, they’re based on long-term benefit for the people of Ontario,” he said. Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown said the budget is not, in fact, structurally balanced, because of one-time asset sale money — such as the sale of shares of Hydro One — and accounting “tricks,” such as counting public pension surpluses as assets, against the advice of the province’s auditor general. “This budget is a patchwork attempt by a desperate government to fix the mess they’ve created before the next election,” he said. “If they lose this next election this is spending they’ll never have to be accountable for.” The price tag for the pharmacare plan was not in the budget itself and was provided only verbally by staffers. “Listen, that document is what, 296 pages long,” Sousa said when asked about the absence. “You can’t put everything in the document.” Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath, who just this week announced a New Democrat government would bring in universal pharmacare for people of all ages, said the Liberal plan seems last minute. “All I can think of is that they made it up on the back of a napkin before they got to today,” she said. Health-care advocates applauded the drug coverage plan, but said the increase in hospital dollars wasn’t enough. “We’ve come off nine years in a row of hospital cuts or budget freezes, so we’re a long way behind now,” said Natalie Mehra of the Ontario Health Coalition. Health Minister Eric Hoskins said he’s confident the funding increase will allow for improvements in care. On pharmacare, he said the government will immediately begin working with insurers to make sure their cost savings are passed on to employers and employees. The Liberals had promised no new taxes on families, though they are increasing tobacco taxes by $10 per carton over the next three years and giving municipalities the power to introduce a hotel tax. In addition to balancing the books this year, the government is now projecting balanced budgets through to 2019-20. Despite reaching balance, however, the province’s debt continues to grow. It is projected to be $312 billion this year, growing to $336 billion in 2019-20. Interest on debt is the fourth largest spending area, at $11.6 billion. Historically low interest rates helped the province get to balance, but interest on debt is still projected to be the fastest growing expenditure area, at an average 3.6% from 2015 to 2020. Nonetheless, the government paints a rosy economic outlook, projecting 2% average GDP growth through to 2020, driven by exports and business investment. On the infrastructure front, spending is growing from a promise last year of $160 billion over 12 years to $190 billion over 13 years. The additional $30 billion will go toward new hospital projects, school renewal and child care expansion. Ontario will also move ahead with planning a high-speed rail corridor between Toronto, Kitchener-Waterloo, London and Windsor, the government said in the budget. The project could cut in half the four-hour travel time from Toronto to Windsor. Under the education banner, about $16 billion is earmarked over 10 years to build and improve schools at a time when the government is coming under fire for rural school closures. Another $200 million will go to creating 24,000 child care spaces and subsidizing 60% of them. Post-secondary graduates will now have to start repaying the provincial part of their student loans when they are earning a $35,000 salary, up from $25,000, which student groups applauded. Seniors are also specifically targeted in the budget. A public transit tax credit for people 65 and older will see 15% of eligible transit costs refunded with an average annual benefit of $130. That is estimated to cost the government about $10 million a year. The measure comes after the federal government announced it was eliminating a 15% tax credit for commuters who buy a transit pass. There is also $11 million over three years for a seniors community grant program and another $8 million over three years for new community centres with seniors’ programming. The province has also earmarked $100 million over three years for a dementia strategy that will include helping patients and their caregivers find support and improve training for health-care workers. Toronto Mayor John Tory said he was disappointed there was no new cash for affordable housing in the budget. Ontario unlikely to balance budget by 2030: FAOlast_img read more

Comprehensive estimates of deaths, disease burden, and life expectancy reduction associated with air pollution

first_img MaxiVision Eye Hospitals launches “Mucormycosis Early Detection Centre” WHO tri-regional policy dialogue seeks solutions to challenges facing international mobility of health professionals The missing informal workers in India’s vaccine story Heartfulness group of organisations launches ‘Healthcare by Heartfulness’ COVID care app Phoenix Business Consulting invests in telehealth platform Healpha Related Posts Share News center_img By Prabhat Prakash on December 7, 2018 Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals releases first “Comprehensive Textbook of COVID-19” Read Article Menopause to become the next game-changer in global femtech solutions industry by 2025 Comprehensive estimates of deaths, disease burden, and life expectancy reduction associated with air pollution It is important to have robust estimates of the health impact of air pollution in every state of IndiaThe first comprehensive estimates of deaths, disease burden, and life expectancy reduction associated with air pollution in each state of India published by the India State-Level Disease Burden Initiative today report that India with 18 per cent of the global population has a disproportionately high percentage of the global premature deaths and disease burden due to air pollution. The India State-Level Disease Burden Initiative is a joint initiative of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI), and Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, along with experts and stakeholders associated with over 100 Indian institutions. These research findings published in The Lancet Planetary Health were released today at ICMR.On the release of these findings, Prof Balram Bhargava, Secretary to the Government of India, Department of Health Research, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, and Director General, ICMR, said “It is important to have robust estimates of the health impact of air pollution in every state of India in order to have a reference for improving the situation. There is increasing political momentum in India to address air pollution. The findings reported today systematically document the variations among states, which would serve as a useful guide for making further progress in reducing the adverse impact of air pollution in the country.”Highlighting the need for collaboration in addressing air pollution, Dr S Venkatesh, Director General of Health Services, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, said, “The National Health Policy 2017 has listed exposure to air pollution as a significant risk factor, and calls for convergence between sectors to reduce the growing burden of chronic diseases in the country that are often related to air pollution. We are undertaking a number of initiatives for experts to convene in order to develop strategies that would increase awareness among communities on what each one of us could do to reduce the adverse impact of air pollution on health, which would benefit from the state-specific findings reported by this study.”Dr Tushar K Joshi, Advisor Environmental Health, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India, said, “Initiatives across many sectors are being undertaken in India to reduce air pollution, including adoption of renewable energy and cleaner fuels, enhancing public transport options, encouraging intelligent waste management, and adoption of recycling environmentally friendly options. These state-specific findings on the health impact of air pollution would help fine tune the air pollution control efforts across the country. The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change is fostering greater public engagement for environmental sustainability through simple individual actions by performing Green Good Deeds.”“There has been increasing consensus in recent public and policy debates in India on the need to address the adverse health impact of air pollution” said the senior author of this study, Prof Lalit Dandona, Research Professor, PHFI, and Director, India State-Level Disease Burden Initiative. “The findings in this paper that one out of every eight deaths in India can be attributed to air pollution, and that air pollution is now responsible for more disease burden in India than tobacco use, would help increase the momentum further for control of air pollution.Key findings from the paper:First comprehensive estimates of deaths, disease burden, and life expectancy reduction associated with air pollution in each state of India.One in eight deaths in India was attributable to air pollution in India in 2017, making it a leading risk factor for death in India. There were 6.7 lakh deaths due to outdoor particulate matter air pollution and 4.8 lakh deaths due to household air pollution.Over half of the deaths due to air pollution were in persons less than 70 years of age.With 18 per cent of the global population, India suffered 26 per cent of premature mortality and health loss attributable to air pollution globally.In 2017, 77 per cent population of India was exposed to ambient particulate matter PM2.5 above 40 μg/m3, the recommended limit by the National Ambient Air Quality Standards.The mean ambient particulate matter PM2.5 annual exposure of 90 μg/m3 in India in 2017 was one of the highest in the world. The highest PM2.5 exposure level was in Delhi, followed by the other north Indian states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Haryana.While the proportion of households using solid fuels has been improving in India, 56 per cent of the population still used solid fuels in 2017; this proportion was higher in the less developed states with over two-thirds of the population in most EAG states using solid fuels for cooking.The DALY rates due to household air pollution varied 145-fold among the states of India in 2017, and it varied 6-fold for outdoor particulate matter air pollution.The DALYs attributable to air pollution in India in 2017 for major non-communicable diseases, which included chronic obstructive lung disease, ischemic heart disease, stroke, diabetes and lung cancer, were at least as high as those attributable to tobacco use.The average life expectancy in India would have been 1.7 years higher if the air pollution level were less than the minimal level causing health loss, with the highest increases in the northern states of Rajasthan (2.5 years), Uttar Pradesh (2.2 years), and Haryana (2.1 years).Increasing public and policy attention to the control of air pollution in India is encouraging, which needs to be sustained for effective interventions. The Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana launched in May 2016 has achieved its target of distributing LPG to 50 million poor households in August 2018, the target that was originally set for March 2019. The target has now been increased to reach 80 million households through this scheme.Systematic and sustained efforts are needed to address the variety of sources contributing to air pollution, which include transport vehicles, construction activity, industry and thermal power emissions, residential and commercial solid fuel use, waste and agriculture burning, diesel generators, and manual road dust sweeping.Variations between the states in the exposure to outdoor and indoor air pollution should be taken into account while planning policies and interventions to reduce this exposure and its health impact.last_img read more

IndyCar expanding schedule by more than a month

first_imgThe 100th Indianapolis 500 will be held May 29, 2016.The 100th Indianapolis 500 will be held May 29, 2016.IndyCar released its 2016 event schedule Tuesday, and it is more than a month longer than the past two seasons.Next season will start and end in familiar places – opening in St. Petersburg, Fla., concluding at Sonoma Raceway in northern California – but the gap between those events will be 36 days longer, a response to criticism that IndyCar wasn’t covering enough of the calendar.This year, 16 events fit in 157 days, which equated to just over five months. Next year, the footprint for the same number of events will be 193 days.The stretching was done by moving the St. Petersburg race forward two weeks and the Sonoma race back three weeks. In the case of St. Petersburg, Easter fell on the traditional date and the week prior to that was taken by the annual 12-hour sports car race at nearby Sebring International Raceway. Thus the adjustment.IndyCar close to completing ‘16 scheduleThere will a single race in March, three in April, two in May, four in June, three in July, one in August and two in September.At first glance, the last part of the schedule looks light, but the fluctuation of the world calendar put the race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on July 31; it traditionally has been the first weekend of August.August has just one race – a return to Pocono Raceway on Aug. 21 – but the combination of Mid-Ohio, Pocono and Boston gives IndyCar three events in a 50-day stretch. There’s a race (Mid-Ohio), two weekends off, the Pocono race, a week off, the Boston race, a weekend off, then the finale at Sonoma.IndyCar CEO Mark Miles said he “really likes” the pacing.“I think our teams and fans will, too,” he said.IndyCar 2016: Five things to know about scheduleA pair of popular venues – Phoenix International Raceway and Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis. – are set to return while three others – Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., the Milwaukee Mile and NOLA Motorsports Park outside of New Orleans – will not. IndyCar last raced at Phoenix in 2005, at Road America in ’07.Scheduled in between are, among others, the Indianapolis 500 and a new street race in Boston. They are as noteworthy for different reasons.The 500 will be held for the 100th time, which is cause for celebration, and Indianapolis Motor Speedway officials are planning a big one. Details will be confirmed and then released once sponsorship is secured, Miles said.In Boston, local organizers are trying to derail resistance from residents in the Seaport District along with concerns for the cost of preparing the circuit.Miles said IndyCar continues to be interested in returning to Gateway Motorsports Park just east of St. Louis, but there won’t be a race there next year. IndyCar’s last appearance was in 2003. The same is true for a late-February race in Mexico City.ABC will carry five races, NBCSN 11. ABC’s list includes St. Petersburg, the Grand Prix of Indianapolis, the Indianapolis 500 and both races in Detroit. NBCSN will open its season in Phoenix and air the Long Beach, Barber, Texas, Road America, Iowa, Toronto, Mid-Ohio, Pocono, Boston and Sonoma races, plus Carb Day at IMS.Mark Miles Q&A: Don’t expect a closed cockpit in IndyCarThe schedule, with TV air times (ET):March 13: St. Petersburg, Fla. (street circuit), 12:30 p.m., ABCApril 2: Phoenix International Raceway, Avondale, Ariz. (oval track), 8 p.m., NBCSNApril 17: Long Beach, Calif. (street circuit), 4 p.m., NBCSNApril 24: Barber Motorsports Park, Birmingham, Ala. (road course), 3 p.m., NBCSNMay 14: Indianapolis Motor Speedway (road course), 3:30 p.m., ABCMay 29: Indianapolis 500, Indianapolis Motor Speedway (oval track), 11 a.m., ABCJune 4: Detroit, Mich. (street circuit), 3:30 p.m., ABCJune 5: Detroit, Mich. (street circuit), 3:30 p.m., ABCJune 11: Texas Motor Speedway, Fort Worth, Texas (oval track), 8 p.m., NBCSNJune 26: Road America, Elkhart Lake, Wis. (road course), 12:30 p.m., NBCSNJuly 10: Iowa Speedway, Newton, Iowa (oval track), 5 p.m., NBCSNJuly 17: Toronto, Ontario (street circuit), 3 p.m., Live on CNBC, replay on NBCSNJuly 31: Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Lexington, Ohio (road course), 2 p.m., Live on CNBC, replay on NBCSNAug. 21: Pocono Raceway, Long Pond, Pa. (oval track), 3 p.m., NBCSNSept. 4: Boston, Mass. (street circuit), 2 p.m., NBCSNSept. 18: Sonoma Raceway, Sonoma, Calif. (road course), 7 p.m., NBCSNFollow Curt Cavin on Facebook and Twitter: @curtcavinlast_img read more