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News Release

Medical Reform Group of Ontario
News Release

December 13, 1983

Four years ago physicians concerned about the erosion of Canada's medicare system founded the Medical Reform Group of Ontario. The Medical Reform Group has a membership of approximately 150, most of whom are practising physicians.

We applaud Monique Begin's introduction of the Canada Health Act, because it reasserts the original principles of medicare, in particular universality of coverage and reasonable access to services without financial impediments. We are pleased that the Act provides for financial penalties for provinces which allow hospital user fees and physician extra billing.

However, we are worried that some provinces will decide to accept the proposed penalties rather than eliminate these destructive practices. If the provinces follow this course, Canadians will continue to experience barriers to necessary care, while the public money available to provide for health services will decrease. We therefore call upon the provincial governments and physicians to abide by the wishes of the overwhelming majority of Canadians and follow the spirit as well as the letter of this new Act.

As practising physicians we have encountered patients in Ontario who are without insurance coverage because they cannot afford OHIP premiums or are unable to wend their way through the premium assistance maze. We have found it difficult to find opted-in specialists for patients in some specialties and geographic areas, including metropolitan Toronto. We believe health care cannot be treated as a commodity to be bought and sold on the open market. It is time for all Canadians to reconfirm that health care is a right, not a privilege.

For further information:
Dr. Michael Rachlis
Dr. Fred Freedman
Dr. Cynthia Carver

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