Home Canada Side deals on health funding may be reached alongside national agreement: B.C. premier

Side deals on health funding may be reached alongside national agreement: B.C. premier

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Prime Minister shows optimism about attacking improved public health funds negotiate with the federal government ahead of next week’s meeting with the prime minister Justin Trudeau.

British Columbia Premier David Eby In Ottawa on Wednesday, he said he believed the federal government would present states and territories with details of a health transfer agreement that could lead to a national agreement, but was open to side talk specific to BC.

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BC Prime Minister Discusses Healthcare Financing in Ottawa

These may include discussions about mental health and addiction treatment programs, increased numbers of family physicians, and expanded home care.

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“We will be discussing state core funding, but we will allow states to discuss key areas of state priority with the federal government,” he said at a press conference in the capital.

“I am convinced that BC’s priorities are not necessarily the same as those of Quebec, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland.”

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Ontario Premier Doug Ford also said Wednesday that he hopes the provinces will reach a health care deal with the federal government after meeting with him next Tuesday.

Ford said last month that states would not enter into separate contracts with the federal government.

Prime Ministers and Health Ministers across the country have called on Ottawa to increase its contribution to health care from its current 22% to 35%.

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Prime Minister Trudeau said the funding would be conditional, including the sharing of health data and the sharing of results to national databases.

During a 45-minute meeting with the prime minister on Wednesday, Eby said the prime minister did not provide financial details for next week’s health financing talks.

“He said he was going to make a very clear and understandable proposal to the prime minister,” Eby said.

The meeting also included a discussion of the importance of health data for providing accountability for funding both federal and state governments, Eby said.

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The BC Prime Minister is also scheduled to meet with Ford on Thursday in Toronto.

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Ford agreed with Trudeau’s recent comments that it would not sign a deal at the Feb. 7 meeting.

“But we have to get a deal soon after that,” said Ford of Brampton, Ontario.

“I can’t let this drag on at a time when we’re all under pressure in healthcare,” he said.

Ford says it wants more federal funding to hire more nurses and doctors to address its surgical backlog.

Quebec Premier Francois Legault said he was looking forward to the health talks.

“I hope I have good news,” he said.

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New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs also said he was optimistic that the state and federal governments would reach an agreement.

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He believes that health care standards should be comparable across states and that states should learn from each other about what works best.

“I think it’s important that we can agree, and I don’t think it’s difficult to agree on what those standards are,” Higgs said at a news conference. I think we have to leave it to the states because it will be more sensitive than other states.”

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He said the federal government should not dictate to states how they should reach equivalent medical standards.

“I think they should say ‘OK.’ Let’s agree on access to primary care. Let’s agree on a timeline that’s the norm in this country,” Higgs said.

Eby said he hopes the federal government will present proposals to the states that will lead to meaningful discussions toward an agreement.

“British Columbians don’t want to see federal and state governments arguing over health care costs,” he said. “They want to see us deliver for them.”

—with files from Dirk Meissner in Victoria, Alison Jones in Toronto and Hina Aram in Fredericton.

© 2023 The Canadian Press

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