McGuinty Asks Provinces to Stick Together on Doctor Pay
Ontario is urging other provinces to stand together on how much they pay doctors.
Premier Dalton McGuinty has sent a letter to fellow premiers calling on them to work together in making better use of things like technology and new drug therapies to cut costs in delivering health care.
McGuinty's Liberal government indicated earlier this year that it wanted to freeze doctors' pay.
The government went further last week, slashing several hundred fees paid to doctors in a revamp of the health insurance system. The government and the group representing doctors have been unable to reach an agreement on a new fee arrangement.
McGuinty told CTV's Question Period Sunday that he doubts the tight-fisted approach will spur doctors to hang their shingle in other provinces, saying most of the fee changes won't affect them. However, in a letter sent Friday, McGuinty made it clear he'd like to see the other provinces align themselves with Ontario's approach.
``I recognize that each province and territory has its own plans to reform medicare and each of us has our own starting point for payment arrangements with doctors,'' the letter states.
``But I urge you to consider how we might work together through strong, forward-looking reform, such as those we are implementing in Ontario.''
Technological breakthroughs in areas such as pharmaceuticals, diagnostic imaging and surgical techniques can allow doctors to cover more ground in a day, McGuinty argues.
``It only makes good sense that, when medical breakthroughs allow a physician to greatly increase the number of procedures or surgeries done in a day, the payment made by Canadians to that physician be reconsidered and re-balanced,'' he writes.
Ontario Medical Association president Dr. Doug Weir accused McGuinty of turning his back on the province's doctors, saying that provinces like Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan are increasing the fees paid to their doctors.