Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson says the premiers have agreed to simply accept the health-care funding deal offered to them by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, although they are saying it is way lower than that they had been asking for.
Stefanson, who currently chairs the premiers association often called the Council of the Federation, oversaw a virtual meeting on Monday where the premiers discussed last week’s offer of over $46 billion in recent federal health-care spending over the subsequent 10 years.
“We consider it’s a step in the proper direction,” Stefanson said in an interview with Global News on 680 CJOB in Winnipeg.
“But at the identical time, we also recognize that this will not be the reply to what we’d like in the way in which of long-term sustainable funding in health care on this country.”
The brand new money means Ottawa might be sending a complete of $196.1 billion in health-care funding, the majority of which was already specified by existing agreements, to the provinces over the subsequent decade.
The offer was still shy of the premiers’ demand for Ottawa to extend its share of health spending from 22 per cent to 35 per cent.
Still, she said the provinces will accept the brand new money while continuing to work with Ottawa on a long-term plan to make sure the viability of Canada’s cherished health-care system.
Stefanson said a letter might be sent to Trudeau by the premiers outlining “some details and constructive suggestions” toward that sustainability plan.
Other premiers indicated last week and on Monday that they were likely to simply accept the deal despite falling wanting their expectations.
“I don’t think anyone in Canada is of the mind we could be rejecting or forgoing health investment,” Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe told reporters in Regina on Monday.
“Any increase in the world of health care is most actually appreciated and could be well applied here in Saskatchewan.”
Federal Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos and Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc have been travelling across the country to fulfill with premiers and provincial health ministers because the offer was presented last week.
“We welcome today’s announcement by the Council of the Federation,” the pair said in a joint statement. “There remains to be much work ahead of us to finalize bilateral agreements with each provinces and territory, and over the approaching weeks, that might be our focus.”
Those bilateral agreements are supposed to work out how the provinces’ share of the federal money, together with provincial funds, will address their individual health-care needs.
On Monday, the ministers sat down with leaders in Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia to debate their provinces’ individual health-care needs and where the brand new federal funding is required most.
LeBlanc and Duclos might be in British Columbia Tuesday, followed by the territories after which the prairies before the tip of this week.
British Columbia Premier David Eby said in an announcement that “it’s clear every region of our country is battling increased strains” on health-care systems.
“This proposal from the federal government reverses course and begins moving us in the proper direction,” he said.
“It offers stability over the long run and provides reassurance to British Columbians that we will work together to enhance our public health-care system, including immigration pathways for health-care staff and national credential recognition.”
Ontario Premier Doug Ford, who met with Duclos and LeBlanc last week, proposed to his colleagues on the Monday meeting that they ask Trudeau to increase the deals beyond the subsequent decade.
In an announcement, his office said the recommendations would allow for sustainable funding that’s “data-driven based on performance.” Ford was “confident” Ottawa would accept his proposal, the statement added.
The federal offer got here with certain conditions including a requirement for modernization and sharing of health-care data for a national database.
The federal government has also been clear it doesn’t want the brand new money to go toward private health facilities, which some provinces are starting to lean on to assist ease the burden on the general public system.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservative government announced last month that it’s moving some procedures to publicly funded, private facilities to deal with a growing surgery wait-list, which worsened in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Patients won’t need to pay for those procedures, Ford and Health Minister Sylvia Jones have said.
Provinces reminiscent of Alberta and Saskatchewan have already made similar moves.
In an interview with Mercedes Stephenson on The West Block Sunday, LeBlanc said provinces can proceed to explore such moves as long as they proceed to abide by the Canada Health Act.
“The provinces can proceed to do a few of those things so long as they’re respecting the fundamental principles of the Canada Health Act, which take care of things like … access being based on medical need, not your ability to pay,” he said.
“But we’re going to be clear that the incremental federal money that we’re proposing has to enter strengthening … the general public health care system, not the private health care system.”
Trudeau has said his conversations with the premiers last week in presenting the offer made clear his government’s top priority is preserving the Canada Health Act. But he has also touted Ford’s move as an modern solution to deal with growing wait times.
—With files from the Canadian Press
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