The former President of the University of Saskatchewan, Dr. W.P. Thompson, was invited to act as chair. It was an onerous job, made especially difficult by the attitude of the medical members of the committee. 49 briefs of more than 1,200 pages were submitted by individuals and groups from across the province. In September of 1961 the Committee produced an Interim Report which recommended:
- Universal coverage for all residents.
- Comprehensive benefits based on residence, registration and payment of personal premiums with additional finances to be drawn from general government revenues.
- Utilization fees.
- Fee-for-service payment.
- The creation of a commission responsible to the government to administer the plan.
Ten days before the Act was to be given Royal assent, Douglas turned over the reins of government to the steady but less than charismatic former Minister of Education, W.S. Lloyd.
Douglas’s decades’ old dream of a universal medical care plan seemed complete as he left provincial politics to run for the national leadership of the newly-created New Democratic Party (NDP). The Act was set to become law on July 1, 1962. Two camps, the government in one and the doctors in the other, took uncompromising positions that would eventually lead to crisis and strike.
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