Government taking ideas on health careBy JIM FOX
© St. Petersburg Times
published February 17, 2002
Canadians are being called on to share their ideas about the future of Medicare.
Roy Romanow, head of the Commission on the Future of Health Care in Canada, said he wants to hear suggestions on how to fix the system burdened by soaring costs and long waiting lists for treatment and nursing homes.
Hearings are to begin next month in Regina and continue across the country as Romanow prepares a report with recommendations for the government.
Canada, known for its open access to health care for all regardless of income and having no direct billing of patients, is at a turning point.
There are concerns the Canada Health Act will soon give way to a more rigid system based on health maintenance organizations like those in the United States.
Romanow acknowledged a parallel, user-pay system is one of the options, but he expects a "very passionate" debate about any proposed changes.
The commission wants to discourage provinces from setting up their own health care systems, fearing it would lead to "care-shopping," where Canadians could choose to live where it best suits their individual health needs.
Search for women goes on
Police continue searching a rundown pig farm for clues about the disappearance of 50 women from Vancouver.
"Intensive forensic investigation" is under way at a mobile home on the property east of the city, said Detective Scott Driemel.
Three people, including brothers David and Robert Pickton, own the farm. Police laid weapons charges against Robert Pickton when they raided the property.
Most of the women, who disappeared between 1983 and late 2001, worked as prostitutes.
Names in the news
Ontario leadership candidate Jim Flaherty said homelessness would become a crime if he becomes premier. Legislation would "virtually eliminate homelessness," Flaherty said, noting it's "not acceptable" to live on the streets. He earlier created the province's antipanhandling law. The new law would get people the help they need by taking them to shelters, mental health centers, hospitals and detox or crisis intervention centers, he said.
Horace "Bud" Olson, a former federal Liberal cabinet minister and lieutenant governor of Alberta, has died of a stroke in a Medicine Hat, Alberta, hospital. He was 76.
Hard-nosed reporter Paul Kidd has died in Hamilton, Ontario, after a short battle with cancer. He was 69. Kidd's journalism career spanned 46 years, several countries, the Hamilton Spectator and the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.
Facts and figures
Canada's inflation rate rose last month to 1.3 percent due to higher prices for food and tobacco but analysts said it is in line with an improving outlook for the economy.
The Canadian dollar is higher at 62.89 U.S. cents while the U.S. dollar returns $1.59 Canadian before bank exchange fees.
There's no change in the Bank of Canada key interest rate of 2 percent or the prime lending rate of 3.75 percent.
Stock markets were mixed, with the Toronto Exchange 300 index at 7,515 points and the Canadian Venture Exchange 1,138 points.
Lotto 6-49: (Wednesday) 1, 2, 6, 24, 40 and 47; bonus 7. (Feb. 9) 7, 14, 20, 30, 35 and 36; bonus 10.
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