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Opting Out of OHIP

Resolution Adopted by Medical Reform Group of Ontario October 14, 1979

WHEREAS the Ontario Medical Association has actively encouraged opting out of OHIP by all physicians in the province, and the use of a fee schedule substantially higher than OHIP benefits,

WHEREAS, although the O.M.A. position is that opting out will result in better quality patient care, the underlying reasons for the O.M.A. stand on opting out are as follows:

1) to increase physician income, by forcing patients to pay fee increases in excess of those established by the government,

and/or

2) to increase physicians' financial and political control over the health care system by allowing them, through professional associations, to unilaterally determine fees,

WHEREAS opting out results in:

1) decreased access to care for lower income patients, who are the only ones significantly deterred by "deterrent fees",

2) a substantial unnecessary increase in total health care costs over time due to unopposed physician control over fees,

3) a geographically unfair distribution of increased health care costs to the consumer, since different communities experience different increases in fees according to local rates of opting out,

4) an accentuation of the traditional disparity between the health care received by the poor and that received by the wealthy, through encouragement of the two-tiered "public" and "private" patient models,

and thus 5) the destruction of the basic principles of medicare.

THEREFORE the Medical Reform Group

1) opposes opting out or extra billing by physicians; for the reasons given above, it is not an acceptable solution to doctors' dissatisfaction with the present OHIP system,

2) calls for immediate action by the provincial government to develop alternative systems of payment for physicians' services which will

a) end the practice of opting out,

b) deal with physicians' and patients' dissatisfactions With the present OHIP system,

c) safeguard the right of Ontario citizens to quality health care with equal access for all,

3) calls for a public list of opted in and opted out physicians as an interim measure to aid health care consumers and to make the present situation a matter of public knowledge.

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