Former Sask Premier Roy Romanow Says Health-care Reform Will Go Further With Federal Support - Urges PM Harper To Meet With Premiers
Stephen Harper continues to avoid meeting with Canada's Premiers as they struggle to deal with a variety of issues that face each province and the nation as a whole.
"Prime Minister Stephen Harper has to meet with Canada's premiers to make the most out of provincial and territorial efforts to stretch health-care spending, former Saskatchewan premier Roy Romanow says. Romanow told CBC News that the premiers are doing what they can, but they need the support of the federal government to cut costs and improve service.
Responsibility for health care is shared between the two levels of government, he said. The premiers are trying to talk to Harper, but he won't meet with them, Romanow said. A meaningful dialogue is more important than increasing the current funding, he added. Romanow, who also led a royal commission on the future of health care, spoke to CBC on Tuesday ahead of the premiers' annual meeting in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont."
Lobbyists pressure premiers to ‘stand up’ to the federal government’s stance on medicare:
Medicare lobbyists will rally in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont., on Wednesday, calling on the provinces to “stand up” to the federal government in a renewed attempt to renegotiate Canada’s health accord that governed health transfer payments to the provinces.
Put in place in 2004, the accord is set to expire in 2014 and be replaced by a per-capita funding system that lobbyists say will create inequalities in health care across the provinces and territories. Adrienne Silnicki, the health-care campaigner for the Council of Canadians, said she is concerned that the federal government is reducing its share of health-care costs that will force provinces to increase taxes or make cuts to their health-care services.
“We are seeing more and more of a patchwork system happening instead of this idea that Canadians have where they can go from one province to another and expect the same services within a similar amount of time that are covered by their provincial health plan.”
Premiers forge ahead on health care; empty federal seat limits options
Canada’s premiers will examine new ways to forge ahead on health care initiatives when they meet in Niagara-on-the-Lake this week; but the federal government’s empty seat is limiting their options. The Council of the Federation meeting, which begins Wednesday, comes on the heels of their health care working group’s first major victory. As of April 1, provinces and territories are paying less for six widely used generic drugs thanks to a bulk purchasing agreement they negotiated.