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The Hamilton Spectator
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November 30, 2001
By displaying all of the grace of a bull in a china shop, Premier Mike Harris has chosen the worst way to convince the federal government to provide more money for health care in the December budget. It wasn't enough for the premier to start a nasty war of words with Prime Minister Jean Chretien over health funding. Harris raised the stakes even higher by threatening to stop paying for Ontario's home-care and drug programs if Ottawa doesn't come through.

While Ottawa can't shirk its responsibility to do more, increased spending will never be an adequate remedy in the absence of reforms to the status quo. Neither government has an impressive record on that score. The Chretien government has essentially left it to the Romanow Commission to make the hard decisions about how to inject more private money into the system -- whether through private clinics, extra-billing, individual health accounts or similar measures. The Harris government, meanwhile, has proceeded at a glacial pace in reforming primary care by encouraging doctors to work together in group practices and assigning more work to nurse practitioners.

Canada faces a herculean challenge in finding ways to make the system more cost-efficient while preserving universal health care. A partisan war of words is no substitute for leadership that addresses the desperate need for a new formula to address the critical problems facing health-care consumers and providers alike. Source.

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Harris can't move Ottawa by threats to seniors