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Author Topic: B.C. Throne Speech tackles Medicare  (Read 2172 times)


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B.C. Throne Speech tackles Medicare
« on: Feb 14 06 06:36 »
[DIV id=headline][H2]B.C. Throne Speech tackles medicare[/H2][/DIV][DIV id=author][P class=byline]STEVE MERTL

[P class=source]Canadian Press

[UL class=columnistInfo][/UL][/DIV][DIV id=article style="FONT-SIZE: 100%"][!-- dateline --]Victoria[!-- /dateline --] The B.C. government positioned itself for a potential confrontation over health care on Tuesday, signalling it wants changes to the Canada Health Act to make medicare more sustainable.

In a Throne Speech opening the spring legislative sessions, the government said it will start a "provincewide conversation" on how to protect the public-health system over the long term.

The speech offered no specific reforms but posed a series of questions that suggest its direction.

[DIV class="bigbox ad" id=boxR][SCRIPT type=text/XXXXscript ads="1"]aPs="boxR";[/SCRIPT][SCRIPT type=text/XXXXscript]var boxRAC = fnTdo('a'+'ai',300,250,ai,'j',nc);[/SCRIPT][/DIV]"Does it really matter to patients where or how they obtain their surgical treatment if it is paid for with public funds?" asks the speech, which was read by Lt.-Gov. Iona Campagnolo on behalf of Premier Gordon Campbell's Liberal government.

"Why are we so afraid to look at mixed health care delivery models," when they work in Europe?

"Why are we so quick to condemn any consideration of other systems as a slippery slope to an American-style system that none of us wants?"

Mr. Campbell and Health Minister George Abbott will also tour several European countries to learn how they're transforming their health-care systems.

The speech also promises to make education more flexible and responsive to parent's wishes and offered a new low-cost housing strategy to help reduce B.C.'s homeless population.

With the inquest into the beating death of toddler Sherry Charlie under way in Port Alberni, the government said it will renew efforts to improve and modernize child protection services, including regionalization of aboriginal child and family service delivery, and by strengthening the coroner's office.

And after a groundbreaking deal to preserve the so-called Great Bear Rainforest, the government said it will act to make the kermode or spirit bear the official animal of British Columbia.

The speech says British Columbia has the best health care in the country based on research by the Conference Board of Canada.

Yet people are dissatisfied with long waiting lists and other problems, while the needs of the aging Baby Boom generation and the rising costs of drugs and technology are creating a cost crunch.

Any medicare changes that British Columbia makes would be consistent with the Canada Health Act, but the national law covering universal medicare needs to be updated, the government said.

"Your government will advance that goal in Ottawa and here in B.C.," says the speech. "It will lead an extensive discussion with British Columbians to guide this assembly in furthering fundamental health reform within its mandate."

The government promised to enshrine in law the Canada Health Act's principles to provide universal, accessible, comprehensive, portable and publicly administered care.

"And it will add to those a sixth the principle of sustainability."

Changes don't require a new study or royal commission but a discussion on what's meant by terms such as universality and accessibility.

The government also promised to push ahead with its ActNow initiative aimed at making British Columbians fitter and healthier eaters by purging junk food from schools and ensuring some level of physical activity for all students.

Acknowledging the criticism the government has taken on child protection from the fallout over Sherry Charlie's death, the government said it will learn from the independent reviews now under way.

Meanwhile, the government will regionalize delivery of services in aboriginal communities to help close the gap faced by aboriginal children and families in line with the Kelowna accord. It promised a new relationship between the government and natives.

On education, Mr. Campbell and Education Minister Shirley Bond have promised to visit every school district in the province to hear ideas for change from teachers, parents and students.

Four months after a bitter teachers' strike, the government said it will hold the first-ever teachers' congress later this year and continue the learning roundtable, which includes parents.

It wants to address issues such as class size and composition, as well as curriculum.

It also promised to complete the introduction of high-speed Internet access to 366 communities and extend that to native communities with help from the federal government.

The province will also push the federal government for tough new minimum sentences for drug traffickers and immediate extradition for foreign dealers. The government said central American dealers plague Vancouver's drug-infested Downtown Eastside.

As well, the province will look into setting up community and aboriginal courts to take pressure off the mainstream court system.

And to help address homelessness in B.C.'s buoyant economy, it promised a flexible new housing strategy to help those in need more quickly.

The Throne Speech offered little in the way of economic policy beyond reiterating the government's commitment to its Pacific Gateway Strategy, aimed at expanding B.C.'s trade and investment footprint.


Province will enshrine the five basic principles of the Canada Health Act and add a sixth sustainability as part of fundamental health reform.

A "provincewide conversation" will be held to protect public health care in the long term.

An independent foundation for health innovation and renewal will be created to study other successful health care models in the world.

Premier and Health Minister to visit Scandinavia, France and the United Kingdom to observe their reform efforts.

Fitness to be bolstered through more physical activity in schools, expanded bicycle networks, barring junk food from schools.

Premier and Education Minister to tour every school district seeking ideas for improvements from teachers, parents and students.

Legislation promised to ensure school districts adhere to class-size limits, with variations that can be justified.

One World Scholarship program will be set up to help post-secondary students study in other Pacific Nations.

The delivery of children and family services for aboriginal communities will be regionalized.

A new flexible housing program is promised to help deal with homelessness.

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Re: B.C. Throne Speech tackles Medicare
« Reply #1 on: Feb 14 06 07:58 »
Sounds wonderful, doesn't it.  I wonder just how much will actually be implemented.  We've been hearing promises for a long time;  it would be nice to see some action for a change.  I also wonder if any of these potential changes will trickle down to the elderly and the poor in our society.
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Re: B.C. Throne Speech tackles Medicare
« Reply #2 on: Feb 14 06 08:00 »
Well a new study from the government showed that B.C had the best health care. So good for BC trying to show the way for the rest of the country.
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