Tough day in Toronto for federal Health Minister Jane Philpot, on Tuesday.
Philpot faced her provincial counterparts, for a second day, and a barrage of criticism and questions about the federal Liberals plan to slash the rate of increase on health transfers.
Ottawa is looking to cut, by about a half, the annual increase of payments to the provinces earmarked for next year.
Originally, the increase was set to be 6% across the board to the provinces, but now it looks like it will be more like 3%.
That has many of the provincial Health Ministers up in arms, like Ontario’s Dr. Erik Hoskins. He says the cuts will be a “huge blow” since the move will mean a $1 billion shortfall nationally for 2017-2018.
Six per cent has been the standard rate since 2004 negotiations during the last health accord.
The provinces and territories are asking Ottawa to reconsider or postpone reducing the transfer rate until a meeting is held between the Premiers and the Prime Minister.
The federal Health Minister says she can only make such a pitch for the money with innovative ideas and accountability measures.
Philpott is taking a hard line with her counterparts, with an agenda to keep cost down and improve service across the country.