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Premium needed for Saskatchewan surgeries: BC's Falcon

British Columbia is only interested in providing surgery to people from Saskatchewan if the province can charge a premium, B.C. health minister Kevin Falcon said today in reaction to comments Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall made yesterday.

“One of the parts of the discussion is what will the fee be for the service,” Falcon said about the plan to bring 400 Saskatchewanians to B.C. for orthopaedic surgery.

“From B.C.'s perspective, we're not interested in just covering our costs, because obviously why would I do that? That would potentially displace British Columbians,” he said.

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall said yesterday his province would not pay a “premium” to send patients to B.C. for surgery.

“This initiative is not about subsidizing anybody else's health care system,” Wall said in a scrum, a recording of which was provided to The Tyee. “It's about shorter wait times for Saskatchewan people. If right away other jurisdictions want to talk about [a premium], clearly not.”

Falcon said the deal only makes sense for B.C. if it can be used to raise money to speed up access to surgery for British Columbians.

“I would argue and I still argue that for Saskatchewan that's still very good value,” he said. “Even with a premium it would still be much more affordable than them trying to do it all themselves and replicate what we've done here.”

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Reach him here.

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