Doctors calling on all levels of government to put an end to violations to the Canada Health Act
TORONTO (June 12, 2017) – Doctors across the country are calling on the federal and provincial governments to crack down on violations of the Canada Health Act after the release of a report listing numerous violations across the country.
The report, published by the Ontario Health Coalition, lists a number of clinics across the country that are illegally billing for medically necessary treatment, among other violations. It comes on the heels of an in-depth investigation by the Globe and Mail into this practice.
“These reports are just the latest confirmation of a disturbing trend of patients being asked, or being pressured to pay for medically necessary care that is already covered by the public health care system,” said Dr. Danyaal Raza, Chair of Canadian Doctors for Medicare. “These practices are unlawful, because they base access to care on ability to pay, rather than medical need alone.”
The Canada Health Act – the legal pillar on which our public health care system rests - is only effective at promoting and protecting this vision if it is enforced. Federal & provincial governments should immediately investigate clinics suspected of extra-billing in the OHC report, and fully enforce the law. They must then endeavour to make meaningful reforms within our public health are system in how care is delivered that will improve access to care for all Canadians.
Many proponents of privately financed clinics and user fees for medically necessary care argue that wait times are too long, and that those who are able to pay should be able to jump the queue and receive treatment more quickly. Research and experience in other jurisdictions shows that this simply makes health care less equitable and makes wait times longer for all but a privileged few.
“Wait times are a challenge in any health care system, including ours,” said Raza. “The good news is that there are great examples from not just around the world, but also within our own borders of how we improve accessibility, equity and quality of care. For health care reform that improves care for all in Canada, this is where we must focus our efforts on change.”
Canadian Doctors for Medicare, believe in health care reform that builds a high-quality, equitable and sustainable health system built on the best available evidence.
- 30 -
Canadian Doctors for Medicare (CDM) provides a voice for Canadian doctors who want to strengthen and improve Canada's universal publicly-funded health care system. CDM advocates for innovations in treatment and prevention services that are evidence-based and improve access, quality, equity and sustainability.