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Doctors Calling for Protection of Health Act in Quebec

28 SEPTEMBER 2015

DOCTORS CALL UPON MINISTER AMBROSE TO ENFORCE THE HEALTH ACT

Concern increases as Quebecers warn of court actions against Feds

Canadian Doctors for Medicare join leading Quebec jurists calling upon federal Minister of Health Rona Ambrose to do her duty and enforce the Canada Health Act. Concerns of Illegal extra billing by for-profit medical clinics are outlined in a letter published widely today by high-profile Quebec lawyer Jean-Pierre Ménard.

“The accessibility and universality of public medicare across Canada must not be eroded by the charging of accessory fees by private clinics, which threatens to create a two-tier healthcare system: one for those who can afford it, and one for those who cannot,” said Dr. Ryan Meili, Acting Chair of Canadian Doctors for Medicare. “Canadian Doctors for Medicare shares Mr. Ménard’s concerns and calls upon the Minister to put and end to this practice that violates the Canada Health Act.”

Mr. Ménard raises deeper concerns, advising Minister Ambrose that Quebec Minister of Health Gaétan Barrette has signalled his intention to legalize extra-billing in contravention of the Canada Health Act and Quebec’s Health Insurance Act, as well as various professional codes. Mr. Ménard warns that litigation on the extra billing issue could spread to the federal level if no action is taken. The issue has gained increasing significance as clinics charge patients mounting fees, including hundreds of dollars in fees for services that should be fully covered by the public medicare system. Mr. Ménard requests that the Minister intervene to end extra billing fees in private clinics in Quebec, which Government estimates put at $50-million. Penalties for the Province may include a $50 million transfer payment reduction if it does not uphold the criteria of the Act, by prohibiting extra billing.

The full text of Mr. Ménard’s letter can be found at www.vosdroitsensante.com.

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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.

Dr. Meili is available for interviews in English and French

Contact: Chad Andrews, Canadian Doctors for Medicare
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416-351-3300

CANADIAN DOCTORS FOR MEDICARE

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