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Harper's Healthcare Promise: Real Wait-Time Standards
02/12/2005

Another day, another strong promise from Stephen Harper.

Today he took on health care. As I read it, his policy comes down to this:

This all sounds good to me. It sounds close to what I said I wanted, and it goes beyond what the Liberals were doing.

Someone needs to lay down the law: wait-time standards that are set by medical facts, not whatever is easy to acheive.

Harper talked about paying for out-of-province care and travel costs for patients who aren't being served within the time limits. I suggest that he just subtract these costs from the transfers to the province responsible, and we will find them meeting the time standards pretty damn quick.

I don't know what Layton is complaining about. He must not have gotten the memo.

UPDATE: I guess it would help if I went right to the original sources. Harper's plan involves private delivery of publicly insured services. That's okay with me so long as we have no extra billing, but it is probably what Layton doesn't like. The press release also says "It will fulfill the commitment that federal and provincial governments made last year when they agreed to establish maximum acceptable waiting times for key treatments and procedures and then meet those standards — but the Conservative plan will be implemented right away, not delayed until December 2007. The plan also responds to the Supreme Court of Canada decision in the Chaoulli case."

UPDATE 2: Coverage in Saturday's Globe and Mail makes it pretty clear to me that Steven Harper has the best health care plan of the three parties. Surprising but true. His method for enforcing the wait time standards on the provinces is as I imagined… if you aren't being served in your province, you'll be served elsewhere and your home province foots the bill, including travel expenses. The provinces won't like it, but it will put the pressure on them to come up with solutions.

That same Globe article says that the Liberals would have their own fund for out-of-province treatment, but that the federal government would pick up the tab. Bad idea. Meanwhile, Jack Layton is accusing Harper and Martin of having a hidden agenda.


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