New Brunswick Medical Society takes challenge of medicare cut to court

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FREDERICTON - The New Brunswick Medical Society goes to court today in Fredericton to challenge the provincial government's $20 million cut to medicare.

In its notice of application to the Court of Queen's Bench, the society says the cut and a subsequent two-year cap on medicare payments at $425 million is a violation of their six-year agreement that expires at the end of March 2014.

The group, which represents the province's 1,600 doctors, has accused Health Minister Hugh Flemming of refusing to negotiate with them before introducing the medicare cut in the provincial budget.

Flemming has said the cut is a separate matter from the doctors' contract and he's willing to talk at any time to find other ways to control health care spending.

In an affidavit filed with the court, Lyne St-Pierre Ellis, the associate deputy minister of health, says the society abandoned a negotiation and dispute resolution regulation in their agreement by taking the matter to court.

She says the government remains open to negotiations.

Organizations: New Brunswick Medical Society, Queen's

Geographic location: FREDERICTON

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