Nfld. & Labrador

Ches Crosbie proposes PUB-style board to rein in health spending

The Progressive Conservative leader says if elected he'll establish an arm's-length board to help trim Newfoundland and Labrador's massive health-care budget.

PC leader says health care too expensive and cuts are necessary

PC Leader Ches Crosbie is proposing a major shakeup in the way public dollars are spent on health care. (CBC)

Progressive Conservative Leader Ches Crosbie is proposing a radical shakeup in the way public health dollars are spent in Newfoundland and Labrador, with a view towards cutting costs.

If he becomes premier, Crosbie said, he plans to establish a quasi-judicial board similar to the Public Utilities Board to make major spending spending decisions in a health system that consumes more than $3 billion annually, or roughly 40 per cent of yearly spending.

"I don't know anyone with experience with the health-care system that does not think there is waste in health care," Crosbie stated.

"That's a good place to start. While preserving the quality of care you can root out a lot of waste."

Crosbie has continually referred to what he says is a troubling spending problem, one he says is bringing the province to the "cliff's edge of financial ruin."

When asked how he would cut spending, Crosbie immediately referenced health care, saying someone has to make the tough decisions.

Choices required: Crosbie

"You can't set out to please everyone," he said. "It requires choices, and some will be offended by those choices."

Under the current system, Crosbie said those with the "sharpest elbows" get government funding. 

Under his strategy, Crosbie said a board composed of experts would allocated funding "where the economic case is strongest."

Crosbie believes such a formula would "get better (health) outcomes."

When asked if he would halt construction of the new Corner Brook hospital, Crosbie he would not because the process is too far advanced.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

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