Feds are ‘confident’ that an agreement on health care financing will be reached soon Pipa News

Feds are ‘confident’ that an agreement on health care financing will be reached soon

Federal Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said on Friday that there has been a breakthrough in ongoing federal-provincial talks about the future of health care financing.

Speaking to reporters at a COVID-19 briefing, Duclos said he is “very optimistic” that there will be some kind of deal soon to boost the Canada Health Transfer (CHT) because “there is a change of tone been a change of direction in the last few weeks.”

“A lot of progress has been made. We need to secure investment so that we can maintain the publicly funded and equitable and accessible healthcare system,” he said.

CBC News first reported earlier this week that Duclos said a deal for new financing is taking shape and that the two parties are “increasingly aligned.”

The prime ministers have demanded that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meet them in person to work out the final details of an agreement.

There is a sense of urgency as the prime ministers are eager to see new money reflected in the upcoming spring federal budget.

Government sources told CBC News that Trudeau is unlikely to sit down with the prime ministers until a deal is close to being finalized.

According to sources, the prime ministers will hold meetings in Ottawa in mid-February.

They hope enough progress can be made on a deal to convince Trudeau to participate in the meetings.

The federal government has urged the provinces to allocate new resources to five priority areas: reducing backlogs in operations, improving primary care, expanding mental health services, restoring long-term care facilities, and “modernizing” the system through through better virtual care and data sharing. between the counties and Ottawa.

Some provinces, notably Quebec, have objected to the federal terms.

A man speaks on a podium in front of the flags of Quebec.
Quebec Premier François Legault has signaled that a health care deal is close. (Sylvain Roy Roussel/Radio Canada)

But Quebec Premier François Legault indicated on Wednesday that he is open to giving Ottawa more data on the state of health care in his province.

He said Quebec and Ontario — the other province that was hesitant to hand over data — are ready to strike a deal.

‘It’s two provinces. Two big ones,’ he said.

The federal government wants this data so it can better track health care performance and outcomes. They also want data to be shared more efficiently between GPs, pharmacists, specialists and the hospital system.

Duclos said Canada is “lagging behind” other jurisdictions on data.

With so little patient data being shared within the healthcare system, Duclos said, some emergency room nurses are “afraid” of treating patients without access to digital files.

“It puts tremendous pressure on healthcare workers,” Duclos said. “They don’t have access to recent tests or medications they may be taking.”

It is not known at this time how much money Ottawa will send to the provinces to help establish a system hampered by COVID-19 and the resulting labor shortage.

When asked if the federal government would agree to the county’s demand that Ottawa increase its share of all health care spending from its current 22 percent to 35 percent, Duclos replied, saying only that there will be “additional amounts” to match. trace “additional results.”

If the federal government agrees to the provinces’ terms, that would increase the value of the CHT from $28 billion a year to $45.2 billion.

Duclos said he would not comment on exact dollar amounts because Ottawa is not interested in “public negotiations”.

Any new money, he said, will not be used to address short-term problems. The federal government plans to focus its money on long-term structural changes in the system, he said.

A young girl opens her mouth to a doctor who is doing an oral examination.
Nearly 7 million Canadians do not have a primary care physician. (all_about_people/Shutterstock)

Duclos said the dire state of primary care — nearly 7 million Canadians do not have a primary care doctor — is an area of ​​particular concern.

Canada’s population is booming, thanks in part to record levels of immigration. The country is also getting older. Those dual challenges, combined with COVID-related labor shortages, have put a strain on the country’s publicly funded healthcare system.

To help stabilize the system, prime ministers have asked Ottawa to drastically increase how much it spends each year on the CHT – the amount of money sent to the provinces and territories to fund health services.

The federal Liberal government has said the 22 percent figure doesn’t reflect the whole funding picture.

In 1977, some tax points were transferred from Ottawa to the counties, allowing them to collect a larger share of all tax revenue to fund social programs such as health care. Those tax points, Ottawa argues, should count for something.

The federal government has also made a number of one-time additions to the CHT during the pandemic to help provinces cope with the health crisis.


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