OTTAWA – Today, Maxime Bernier announced his plan to put an end to squabbling between Ottawa and the provinces over health care funding and encourage provincial governments to take the necessary tough decisions to deal with wait times and rising costs.
Health care is an exclusive provincial jurisdiction. Yet, provinces keep begging for more money and blaming Ottawa for their failure to tackle problems.
For its part, the Trudeau government is renewing with the Liberal tradition of meddling in provincial jurisdictions and is trying to impose its own priorities. The conference of health ministers beginning today in Toronto will show once again that nothing good can come out of this dysfunctional system.
Bernier’s plan has three key components:
- Replace the Canada Health Transfer by tax points of equivalent value given to the provinces.
- End the current confusion over who does what. Provinces should take their responsibility for health care funding and management and be fully accountable for the results, while Ottawa should respect the Constitution and stop meddling.
- Create the conditions to encourage provinces to innovate and adopt reforms in line with what is normal in the mixed universal systems of all other developed countries apart from the U.S., such as allowing for private insurance and private service delivery.
The MP for Beauce, who is running for the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada, noted that over the years, the government of Quebec, but also respected figures such as Preston Manning, Mike Harris and Jack Mintz, have argued for this type of reform to Canada’s health care funding.
KEY MAXIME BERNIER QUOTES:
“I can make one prediction: This week’s meeting in Toronto is not going to solve anything. What we are going to see is a bunch of bickering politicians failing their primary responsibility, which is to find more efficient ways to offer first-class health care services to all Canadians.”
“Canada has the longest patient wait times of any developed country. And it’s not because of a lack of funding. Ottawa’s health care transfers to the provinces have risen by 80% since 2006 with little to show for it. Throwing good money after bad clearly isn’t working.”
“In Germany, Australia, Spain, France and Italy, more than one third of hospitals are private and for profit. In Canada, the proportion is zero. These countries all perform better than Canada. Nobody is left aside because of low income. Wait times are non-existent or very short. Nobody is denied care while waiting months or years to receive a treatment.”