In January 1956, the St-Laurent government offered the provinces 50 per cent funding for diagnostic and radiological services and for standard ward in-patient costs, provided that a majority of provinces agreed to participate in the plan and to:
make coverage universally available to all residents
include provision of specific diagnostic (laboratory and radiological) services to in-patients, and within an agreed period of time to out-patients
limit co-insurance or “deterrent” charges so as to ensure that an excessive financial burden is not placed on patients at the time of receiving service (Health Insurance and Canadian Public Policy, p. 217).
The federal government was not prepared to provide funding for mental hospitals or sanatoria since it deemed these institutions to be a provincial responsibility. And it was not prepared to provide funding for capital or administrative costs since the national health grants were already providing support for new facilities.
Back in the Operating Room
The ordinary taxpayer, “UNO WHO” (You Know Who), in John Collins’ 1956 cartoon watches anxiously as the provinces and surgeons haggle over who will get the biggest grant from the federal government for health services. McCord Museum, Montréal, M965.199.8717