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Prescription for an ailing federation? For the past six years, health care has been at the top of the federalism music chart. During this time, first ministers’ meetings have become a set piece. Before the meeting is called, the premiers demand more money for health care from Ottawa – knowing that they will not get what they are asking for. The prime minister brushes off these initial demands in public, but meanwhile the federal government enters into private negotiations with the provinces to reach an agreement. Once the dollar figure is in the federal ballpark, the prime minister schedules a formal meeting.

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