The Québec Medical Association Speaks Out Against the Health Minister’s Anti-democratic Attitude Regarding Incidental Charges

Montréal, October 5, 2015 - The Québec Medical Association (QMA) is speaking out against the attitude of the Minister of Health and Social Services, who disregarded the democratic process by tabling his amendment to Bill 20 regarding incidental charges without engaging in a public consultation.

Considering the major impact of ratifying incidental charges and the resulting consequences on Quebecers’ access to health care services, the QMA sent letters to the Health Minister and the House Leader requesting that this matter be discussed in a public debate and that the proposed changes go through the full parliamentary process, including a consultation. These requests were made before Parliament resumed but were ignored.

The QMA is not the only body to voice its disagreement with the Health Minister. Similar to the Association’s recent comments on the issue, the Ombudsman’s opinion on incidental charges denounces the creation of a two-tier health care system, with faster access for those who have the means to pay for services in a clinic, and slower access for the others in a hospital. The government’s action contravenes two of the five principles of the Canada Health Act: universality and accessibility.

“Not only is the Minister disregarding the democratic process and the opinion of the Ombudsman, but public opinion as well,” stated Dr. Yun Jen, President of the Québec Medical Association. “Many citizen groups have spoken against incidental charges, but the Minister is ignoring all recommendations and turning a deaf ear. Adoption of this amendment is imminent and action must be taken before patients end up footing the bill.”

About the QMA

The QMA comprises some 10,000 general practitioners, specialists, residents and medical students. Its mission is to bring together members of the Québec medical community in a context that promotes reflection and action in the best interests of the health of Quebecers.