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History: 19892007 SAVING THE SYSTEM: THE CANADA HEALTH ACT, THE OTTAWA CHARTER AND ACHIEVING HEALTH FOR ALL, 19781988 THE ENDLESS CHALLENGE: BALANCING CHANGE AND CONTINUITY, 19892007



Another Option?

But this was not the only national study of medicare. Senator Michael Kirby and the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology had begun examining aspects of the issue in 1999 and regularly presented reports summarizing expert opinion on key concerns. In April 2002, the Senate Committee released its interim report on the federal role in health care for Canadians, and the following October it presented its final report and recommendations. The Kirby Committee called for increased federal spending to deal with the costs of home care, catastrophic drug prices and the need for primary care. The committee also recommended providing specific wait times guarantees to patients and having provinces pay for out-of-province care if service was not provided within the time limits. Prophetically, the Kirby Committee noted that access to medically necessary services was the potential Achilles heel in the current system, since Canadians who did not receive timely attention would have a legitimate complaint under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Together, these two sets of documents presented a variety of strategies to improve medicare and to ensure accountability and sustainability. How would the provinces and the federal government respond?

Photo: Michael Kirby, the former senator who chaired the Senate Standing Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology from 1999 to 2002.

Michael Kirby, the former senator who chaired the Senate Standing Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology from 1999 to 2002. The Committee’s report, known as the Kirby Report, offered Canadians more strategies for improving medicare.
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    Date Created: March 31, 2010 | Last Updated: April 21, 2010