TORONTO (Nov. 17, 2015) – The Government of Quebec has passed legislation that establishes a two-tier health care system. Since such an action contravenes the Canada Health Act, Canadian Doctors for Medicare has renewed its call for the federal government to take immediate action to end these activities.
On November 10, Quebecois lawmakers approved Bill 20, new health care legislation that allows physicians to charge patients who seek services already insured under public Medicare, with no clearly established limits.
Monika Dutt, Chair of Canadian Doctors for Medicare, is optimistic that the Honourable Jane Philpott, the federal Minister of Health, can protect patients in Quebecand ensure universal access to health care by enforcing the Canada Health Act.
“The Quebec government instituted a two-tier health care system, privileging those who can pay for care above those who cannot,” Dutt said. “Canadian Doctors for Medicare asks Minister Philpott to end these illegal practices and preserve our health care system.”
Quebec’s Minister of Health, Gaétan Barrette, introduced Bill 20 in November 2014, saying the new law would increase access to care. But in the last stages of committee hearings this fall he introduced sweeping amendments, unrelated to the original bill, that allow user fees and extra-billing in the province. The provincial government now has the ability to permit these new user fees without any discussion or debate in the National Assembly of Quebec.
Prior to the federal election, Doctors, health care providers, and community leaders -- including prominent lawyer Jean-Pierre Ménard -- called on the previous federal government to enforce the provisions of the Canada Health Act, which protect patients from extra billing. Concerned groups noted that this violation of the Act could result in Quebec losing as much as $50 million in federal transfer payments if the new law is implemented. Today, Canadian Doctors for Medicare has renewed that call, in the hopes that the Trudeau Government shows greater support for our public universal health care system.
Canadian Doctors for Medicare provides a voice for Canadian doctors who want to strengthen and improve Canada's universal publicly-funded health care system. We advocate for innovations in treatment and prevention services that are evidence-based and improve access, quality, equity and sustainability.
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