Thursday 22 December 2016

Federal and provincial governments clash about health care funding

Federal-provincial relations have been put to the test recently as the two levels of government try to reach a new accord on health care funding in Canada. As recently as Monday, December 19, 2016, the two groups met in Ottawa to discuss a possible deal and hopefully come to an agreement; however this was not the case.

(Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)
News broke late Monday that the provinces had rejected the most recent government offer for a variety of reasons, but mainly because “it would ultimately reduce the federal contribution to overall health spending.” With different obstacles on the horizon, it was unfortunate that the two groups could not come to an agreement and it will be interesting to see what happens in the near future.

It should also be noted that the federal government and the provinces have very different mandates. Provinces are looking to secure as much funding as possible, and the federal government is looking to stretch each dollar in order to help all Canadians. One side is trying to gain as much funding as possible to improve the overall quality of health care for their residents, while the other side only has a certain amount of money that they must spread throughout a variety of different branches of government. Clearly negotiations are required.

However, certain industry leaders were not thrilled at the way things were handled. Canadian Medical Association president Granger Avery was quoted saying, “The Groundhog Day-type discussions where political leaders bat around percentages and figures at meetings in hotels have to stop. Our system needs better and most important, our citizens deserve better.”

But it’s not all bad.

As we mentioned, something of this magnitude will certainly require intense negotiations. To think that a 10-year plan involving billions of dollars could be agreed to in the first meeting between the groups may have been overly optimistic. The big positive that we can focus on from this meeting is that the two sides are willing to engage in an open dialogue, and we hope that this will lead to the best possible deal for patients across Canada. “If not,” said Jackie Manthorne, CCSN president & CEO, “patient care in Canada will suffer.”

As patients, survivors and caregivers, we ask that both groups remember where their focus should be, and that patients deserve a better standard of health care. We understand that coming to an agreement may not be easy, but we trust that both the federal and provincial governments will come to an agreement that will positively effect change throughout our health care system.

Be sure to stay tuned to our blog as we follow these negotiations in the New Year! 

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