As BC courts debate extra-billing, Quebec bans it

GaetanBarrette

VANCOUVER (September 15, 2016) -- Canadian Doctors for Medicare (CDM) applauds the Quebec government’s move to ban extra-billing by physicians and restoring equitable access to health care in the province on the base of need, not wealth.

On Wednesday, Dr. Gaetan Barrette, Quebec’s Minister of Health, announced that his provincial government would abolish all additional fees for health care covered by provincial health insurance. This is a dramatic shift in government policy since voting in favour of Bill 20 in November 2015, a law that legalized extra-billing in the province. Earlier this year, CDM supported the Réseau FADOQ, Marc Ferland, and Liette Hacala Meunier in their bid to compel the federal government to repeal Bill 20 and enforce the Canada Health Act (CHA) through an order of Mandamus.

“Charging patients at the point of care for medically necessary services strikes at the heart of the principle that access to health care should be based on need rather than ability to pay,” said Dr. Monika Dutt, Chair, Canadian Doctors for Medicare. “We welcome Quebec’s decision to reverse course and end extra-billing by physicians in the province.”

News regarding Quebec arrived shortly after lawyers for the Coalition Intervenors – which includes CDM – presented opening statements to the BC Supreme Court in the Cambie trial, Dr. Brian Day’s legal challenge that would undermine Canadian public health care by allowing extra-billing. Specifically, they are asking to change laws to enable physicians to charge both the province and the patients or private insurers for medical services.

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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For more information, please contact:

Mary-Margaret Jones
Communications and Outreach, Canadian Doctors for Medicare
416.351.3300 | 416.909.5911 (mobile)
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