Health ministers from across Canada have wrapped the first day of their Vancouver meeting, and they agree on one thing: more money is needed from the feds.
The ministers are calling for a funding increase of up to 25%.
But agreeing on how it’s spent may be another matter.
B.C. Health Minister Terry Lake concedes they don’t meet eye to eye on the distribution of the Canada Health Transfer, saying his call to tie funding to demographics wasn’t so popular with his colleagues.
“It is a subject of contention, because whenever you talk about redistributing funds, there are provinces and territories that will win and some that will lose. I didn’t expect that we would all agree necessarily on a way forward in terms of distribution.”
Lake and Premier Christy Clark have been calling for the change, arguing B.C.’s larger aging population costs more to deliver healthcare to.
While that pitch looks to be a non-starter at the conference table, Lake says he’s not ready to give up on pursuing the goal.
“I think we’ll have to keep talking, for sure. We have direction from our premiers, all of us do. And some times those are in opposition to each other on this particular topic. So again, it’s not something we will come to a conclusion on today or tomorrow, but it is something we do need to have continued discussions about.”
The meeting resumes tomorrow, when provincial health ministers will meet with their federal counterpart Jane Philpott.
Lake says among the issues on tomorrows agenda will be the thorny question of physician assisted dying.