Re: Another ‘Green’ Policy That Leads to Death

by Paul Chesser, Heartland Institute Correspondent on June 15, 2009

Duncan Campbell, chief financial officer for Vancouver (B.C.) Coastal Health Authority, responded in the comments section of my post from Thursday and I thought since he was a central character in the blog, it was appropriate to elevate his comments to their own post. Here they are:

I’m the Chief Financial Officer at Vancouver Coastal Health. I’d like to clarify some facts about how we budget to care for our patients. There will be no cuts to patient services in any of our hospitals as a result of the carbon tax and offsets. This year we are paying $800,000 in carbon tax and offsets, out of a total annual budget of $2.8 billion. Yes, our total bill might be $2 million next year, but we will cover this through conservation measures and administrative cost efficiencies. In fact, last year through technology upgrades we cut our ongoing utility bills by $450,000 per year and we have more of these projects in the pipeline. We don’t need to make reductions to patient care to pay these taxes.

The original article discussed the carbon tax and offsets obligations by two B.C. health authorities: The one Mr. Campbell works for, which serves the Vancouver Metro area and thus a larger population, and Fraser Health Authority, which serves fewer people but is growing much faster. The story explained Fraser Health’s budget strains, which are not helped by the carbon taxes and offsets.  I emailed Surrey Leader reporter Jeff Nagel, who explained:

Fraser is where the rapid growth of the region is happening (outer suburbs) and the resulting intense cost pressures.

Vancouver Coastal (closer to inner core) is slower growth. Fraser is the largest region in the province by population.

I think the two admin teams on the two health authorities have been increasingly working together on a range of issues.

Provincial government calls the shots here, so it can add or reassign budget as it wishes or dictate the partial or full merger of the two authorities. It’s not a scenario whereby Fraser is weak financially and forced into the arms of its neighbour at terms set by VCHA, if that’s what you’re thinking.

Fears of the merger are fairly high in Vancouver Coastal in part because some folks there think one hospital (St Paul’s) may be closed and patients relocated east to facilities in Fraser if necessary.

So getting down to details, while Campbell’s claim that the carbon costs are not affecting VCHA patient services at the moment — and assuming it is not forced into a marriage with Fraser or its budget isn’t cut — then he may be correct. However looking at the situation where the real decisions will be made — at the provincial government level — it looks like resources for patient services will suffer overall. And why couldn’t resources devoted to unneeded and useless carbon taxes and offsets be directed instead to other, currently unmet patient service needs?

Correction from Jeff Nagel, 5:00 p.m.: “To clarify further, Vancouver Coastal actually serves the smaller population, a little under 1.1 million, although its budget of $2.8 billion is higher.

Fraser Health Authority = 1.5 million residents, $2.4 billion.

Here’s a previous story, for your info, on claims/counterclaims about potential cuts in Fraser.

E. Calvin Beisner June 15, 2009 at 4:08 pm

Mr. Campbell may do all the rationalizing he likes, but he cannot repeal the economic principle of opportunity cost.

Eddie R Gore June 18, 2009 at 1:34 am

Global Warming or Climate change is a fraud/farce.

Stop taxs on CO2. what a hoex

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