Extra fees : The federal government must enforce the Law (Press Release)
Montreal, May 3, 2016 – The Québec Medical Association (QMA) supports the legal review filed with the federal court by the FADOQ which aims to force the government of Canada to apply the Canada Health Act, with the goal of ending overbilling in healthcare in Quebec.
The QMA remains opposed to direct billing to patients for services insured in a universal health care system. This practice, contrary to the Law of both Quebec and Canada, was tolerated and now legalized by adoption of Act no 20 by the government of Quebec. Even by 2007, the Chicoine Report, conducted by a group of experts, reported abnormal patient billing and deficiencies in government coverage.
The QMA views it as the responsibility of the government to cover the entire real cost of a required medical service into the ministerial budget and to ensure that this does not become subject to exponential growth. The QMA is convinced that there are sufficient funds invested in health in Quebec. Some services which are presently covered and paid for by the government do not provide added value or benefit to the patient, while others which have direct consequences for the patient are only covered partially or not at all. The QMA believes that the government of Quebec has managed to collect more than $50 million in extra fees in attacking overdiagnosis, overtreatment and overmedication.
"The principle of universal access to health care requires the government to cover the entire cost for any medically necessary service, says Dr. Hugo Viens, vice president of the QMA. We must therefore review the basket of medical services in this regard. The QMA is ready to work with Dr. Barrette on this important issue for patients and the health care system."
The Canada Health Act has previously been applied
The Canada Health Act has been applied in the past and used to sanction provinces which engaged in overbilling, such as Ontario and Alberta. In effect, nearly $255 million was withheld by the federal government from provinces which had not respected the principles of the Act.
"The protection of patients and eliminating inequality in terms of access must be the priority of the federal minister as well as that of the minister in Quebec", concludes Dr. Viens.