Sunday, 29 May 2011

Tories set to steer new course on health care funding

Andre Picard: Tories set to steer new course on health care funding
Instead of a long-term deal with all 13 provinces and territories, we can expect a short extension of the current deal – which would fulfill the Conservative campaign promise of maintaining annual increases at 6 per cent – followed by a fundamental revamping of federal transfers.

Bill Tholl, an Ottawa-based consultant who was the long-time secretary-general of the Canadian Medical Association, said instead of an omnibus deal with all provinces and territories, he expects the new majority government to propose signing a series of bilateral agreements.

... in the long term even more significant changes are coming. Mr. Tholl said the Conservatives have been clear that they are going to revamp the federal-provincial fiscal arrangement, and the Canada Health Transfer will be affected in the process.

One of the most talked-about proposals originates with Ken Boessenkool, a long-time Harper adviser and now an executive fellow at the School of Public Policy at the University of Calgary. He has suggested that Ottawa do away with the myriad programs it has for transfers and equalization payments and instead turn over the monies collected from the federal GST to the provinces.
Boessenkool's proposal: press release, PDF.

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