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Is MSB Abdicating Its Responsibility For Health Care For Treaty Indians?

SASKATCHEWAN INDIAN      JUNE 1991      v20 n02 p12  
Treaty Rights to Health Care and Blue Cross!

Health and Welfare Canada recently called for tenders to manage the administration and payment processing of Non Insured Health Benefits for Treaty Indians. The winner was Blue Cross but was the loser Canada's Treaty Indians. The Health and Social Development Commission of the FSIN as well as the Chiefs of this province have voiced many concerns about the "Third Party" administration of this Treaty Right. Although Medical Services Branch personnel state that they maintain the responsibility for this program, the authority lies with Blue Cross to make payment decision.

What are the Issues for Treaty Indians.

That a third party other than the Federal Government is administering a Treaty Health Right.

That the Federal government has not provided Treaty Indians with a way to appeal decisions when a requested benefit is refused. That drugs available as a Treaty Health Right are now listed in a "formulary" with the Federal Government unable to provide a clear indication of how often this "formulary" will be updated or revised.

Recently at the "All Chiefs" meeting in May, Mr. Duane Adams, Regional Director, Medical Services Branch addressed the questions and issues posed by Chiefs throughout the province. The assembly of Chiefs made it very clear that this new administration of Treaty Health Benefits was not acceptable. Further to this FSIN have forwarded letters to both the Prime Minister of Canada and the Minister of Health and Welfare to express concern about the "off loading" of a Treaty responsibility to a Third Party medical corporation. The HSDC, FSIN will continue to pursue through the Bi-lateral agreement process the study into the Treaty Right to Health issue.