Nunavut well being minister threatens to ahead medical journey payments to Ottawa over lack of negotiations

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Non-Insured Well being Advantages program settlement set to run out April 1 with nothing to switch it

Nunavut’s well being minister is threatening to ahead medical journey payments incurred by the territory’s Inuit to the federal authorities if a brand new Non-Insured Well being Advantages program settlement isn’t in place by April 1.

That’s when the present settlement, struck with the federal authorities final yr, is ready to run out.

Well being Minister Lorne Kusugak says his requests to barter with the federal authorities have been met with “silence.”

“Canada’s continued stalling exhibits disrespect to Nunavut’s Inuit and is dangerous to the long-term well being of our territory,’ mentioned Kusugak within the legislature March 16.

“The federal authorities has to drag up their socks and begin paying for what they’re liable for.”

The Non-Insured Well being Advantages program, run by Indigenous Providers Canada, offers Indigenous communities, together with Nunavut Inuit, with protection for a variety of well being advantages that aren’t lined by different social packages, personal insurance coverage or provincial and territorial medical health insurance.

NIHB protection contains pharmaceuticals, dental care, eye care and medical journey.

Final fall the federal authorities elevated the quantity it pays for medical journey and medevac flights for beneficiaries of its NIHB program in Nunavut from $125 per flight to $715 per flight.

The rise utilized retroactively to flights from April 1, 2020 till March 31, when a brand new settlement was meant to return into impact.

“It was and is our expectation that the federal authorities start protecting 100 per cent of the prices of medical journey flights for Inuit in perpetuity,” mentioned Kusugak.

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That expectation is mirrored within the division’s 2021-22 finances, which components roughly $20 million coming from that funding.

The long-standing problem with NIHB is that per-capital federal funding fashions don’t bear in mind the excessive prices of air journey and well being care within the territory. The result’s that the Authorities of Nunavut has traditionally needed to cowl these value overruns.

When requested throughout query interval how the finances can be impacted if the difficulty isn’t resolved by March 31, Kusugak was mum.

“I can not clarify precisely the influence that may have presently,” he mentioned, however added that as lately as earlier within the morning he had despatched a letter to his federal counterpart on the difficulty.

Kusugak additionally clarified that along with his division, negotiation efforts are additionally being made by the Division of Finance and the premier’s workplace.

Indigenous Providers Canada didn’t reply questions posed by Nunatsiaq Information in regards to the standing of the negotiations or when the final time the division was involved with the Nunavut authorities.

As a substitute, a spokesperson mentioned the division continues to “work collaboratively” with the territorial authorities to handle well being priorities.

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