Premiers’ calls for increased health transfers ‘ignored’ in throne speech: Pallister

Manitoba’s premier says calls from Canada’s premiers for increased federal funding for health care were “ignored” in the Liberal government’s throne speech Wednesday

“There’s a fundamental imbalance in the current health funding arrangement. The status quo is not sustainable,” Premier Brian Pallister said Thursday.

“The federal government, which used to be a 50 per cent partner, now funds about 20 per cent of all health-care costs. And without any changes, that divide’s going to continue to grow, and the need for quality, accessible, sustainable health care is going to increase.”

Pallister spoke to media at a news conference Thursday in response to Wednesday’s speech from the throne in Ottawa.

He accused the Liberal government of failing to address last week’s call from himself and other premiers for a $28-billion boost in health-care funding.

“Every premier across the country, coast to coast to coast, has identified this as the No. 1 priority, and yesterday it was ignored.”

Pallister was one of four Canadian premiers who visited Ottawa in person last week after the country’s premiers unanimously agreed to call on the federal government to cover 35 per cent of provincial health costs — up from the current 22 per cent — in light of what they described as an “absolutely critical” situation.

Currently, provinces spend $188 billion on health care, with the federal government covering $42 billion.

“Some may say our efforts failed. I would say the battle may be over, but the war will go on,” Pallister said Thursday.

“The struggle for health care will continue and Manitoba will continue to lead the way in standing up for available health care.”

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