Medical Reform Group of Ontario
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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Toronto, Ontario, M6G 1L9, Canada Tel: 416–964–7799
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