In Canada, we have the Prime Minister and the Premiers of each of the provinces engaged in a ritual of negotiations over money transfers from the Federal Government to the Provincial Governments for health care funding. The sad part of this is that the negotiations are being played over the medium of TV and under scrutiny by the press as well. The parties are coming with different agendas and ideas as to how much money is enough.
Canada has a publicly funded health care system that is starting to show cracks from the strains of:
1) An older population profile as the baby boomers march on the demographic path to older age
2) Decreasing health measures - increased obesity, lack of exercise, inappropriate food consumption patterns
3) Climbing cost of drugs and big pharma where costs are going up faster than GNP growth squeezing the rest of the system
4) Competitive lure of the U.S. in hiring Canadian doctors and nurses - higher wages to our south has drawn some medical personnel out of Canada
There are other factors but the above are the major considerations
Here is the article in full:
OTTAWA — If it weren't about something as important as health care, the rancorous first ministers' meeting being broadcast from here would provide the raw material for reality TV or even a pretty good sitcom.
For drama, there is the Prime Minister's reluctance to talk specifically about Ottawa's funding proposal until tomorrow even though money is foremost in the premiers' minds and press conferences. And for humour, viewers can choose between Ralph Klein's stunningly insensitive reference to the role of "herbs and berries" in aboriginal medicine, or Ujjal Dosanjh's laughably loose grip on his federal health portfolio.
But this summit isn't supposed to be entertaining or darkly funny. Promoted as an historic attempt to fix medicare for a decade, this first ministers' meeting is proving to be more an exercise in exploring gaps.
First there is the yawning gap between the health of aboriginal people and that of other Canadians. Then there is the gap between the cutting-edge public system the country wants and the deteriorating one it now has. And finally there is the one that separates what Paul Martin promised in the election campaign and what he is now apparently willing, or able, to deliver.