Justin Trudeau is promising that under a re-elected Liberal government, health care for Canadian Forces members won’t be compromised due to disagreements with the provinces over costs.
Trudeau said that the federal government is looking to achieve “fairness.”
“The reality is that the federal government is being charged significantly higher prices for these same services for military members as it (the federal government) offers to other Canadians and we’re just looking at making sure that the system is fair for everyone.
“The reality is what we’re looking at will not cut any services to any military members nor will it negatively impact hospitals or service providers,” he added, calling the controversy an example of “Conservative misinformation.”
Global News exclusively reported Tuesday that Ottawa has quietly rolled back what it pays hospitals to take care of military members, according to multiple sources.
The federal government made major changes to the fees it reimburses to hospitals in the spring — prompting concerns that some military members could be denied health care services.
Members of the military are not eligible for public health care under provincial plans, so in cases in which they are treated at civilian hospitals, the Canadian Forces foots the bill.
Health ministers in Ontario and Alberta have expressed concern about the changes and how they would impact hospitals.
The reduction in fees recouped by hospitals could mean shortfalls of at least $10 million in Ontario, according to documents obtained by Global News. Alberta’s health minister said in a statement that hospitals in that province could be out by $2 million.
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer called the government’s move unfair to the troops but also to the health care system. He called on the federal government to live up to its obligations.
“That is extremely unfair and it’s another example how Justin Trudeau is such a hypocrite, running around the country, raising the spectre of cuts when the reality is his government is engaged in these types of cuts,” he said.
Asked if he would commit to increasing funding for health care for Canada’s military if the Tories are elected, Scheer would only say he is committed to ensuring they have access to the health care they deserve.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said an NDP government would restore the funding to “those people that sacrificed their life, that put their life in danger to serve our country.”
He also suggested Trudeau is being hypocritical.
“He criticizes (Ontario Premier Doug) Mr. Ford for cutting health care but he himself is cutting health care to veterans, to soldiers, to people who serve in the Canadian Forces. That is wrong.”
–With files from Amanda Connolly and Mercedes Stephenson, Global News