Toronto

Ontario to cut health services covered by medicare

Ontario will reduce the number of health services covered by medicare as the Liberal government looks to cut costs and trim a $16-billion deficit.

Ontario will reduce the number of health services covered by medicare as the Liberal government looks to cut costs and trim a $16-billion deficit.

Ontario Health Minister Deb Matthews, shown here with Premier Dalton McGuinty, says the government is reviewing all health services with the possibility they'll be delisted from OHIP. (Nathan Denette/Canadian Press)

Health Minister Deb Matthews says the government is reviewing all health services to see if evidence shows they improve patient outcomes, and if not, they could be delisted from OHIP.

Matthews also says research shows geographic differences in how often some procedures are performed, with Ontario having a much higher incidence of caesarean sections than other jurisdictions.

She says the review will sometimes lead to delisting a procedure, but could also lead to new services being covered.

The Progressive Conservatives and New Democrats say they fear the government's search for efficiencies in health care could be code for more cuts.

Matthews will outline a plan next week with several initiatives that she says will both improve patient care and address Ontario's fiscal reality.