Medical Reform Group of Ontario
April 4, 1984 - Toronto
The Medical Reform Group of Ontario is on record as supporting the
Canada Health Act. We now feel compelled to comment on the significant
revisions to the Act and to respond to the extraordinary campaign
being mounted against the Act in recent weeks.
The major problems threatening medicare have been extra-billing
and hospital user fees, and provincial health insurance premiums.
These are serious problems because those in the greatest need of
care -- the elderly, the poor, the unemployed -- are most affected
by these financial barriers. Worst of all, essential care has been
delayed for many Canadians because of their perception that they
must pay cash to be entitled to health care services.
We believe that the Canada Health Act as amended will remedy many
of these problems. First and foremost, the Canada Health Act under
clause 10 will guarantee all Canadian residents coverage for health
care services whether or not premiums have been paid. This clause
will put an end to premiums as a barrier to care. For doctors --
they will be glad to know that they can bill provincial insurance
plans for all Canadian residents. For patients -- they will be glad
to know that they are insured in those provinces that charge premiums
whether they have paid these premiums or not.
The provisions in the Act addressing the other major problem of
extra-billing may be inadequate. Wealthy provinces can afford to
pay the penalties as set out under clause 20.
We hope that the Ontario government will adhere to the spirit and
intent of the Canada Health Act by banning extra-billing and officially
ending the premium system of payment for health care coverage.
Several provinces, notably Ontario, are under tremendous pressure
from a powerful, affluent and unscrupulous opposition as evidenced
by the sad and shameful events of the last few weeks. The National
Citizens' Coalition has mounted a misleading and irresponsible campaign
against the Act. In particular the elderly, those with chronic illness
and those with acute symptoms have been intimidated by home delivery
of pamphlets and newspaper advertisements suggesting that their
access to care will be blocked by the Act -- a frightening and false
Most tragic of all is that the Ontario Medical Association, the
official voice of the medical profession of Ontario, has formally
aligned itself with the National Citizens' Coalition campaign of
We call on all doctors who reject the National Citizens' Coalition
campaign to dissociate themselves from the OMA's endorsement of
this organization. We do not ask that doctors necessarily take our
position. We do ask that they re-assure their patients that care
will not be denied when the Act is passed.
Medical Reform Group of Ontario contacts:
Dr. Philip Berger Toronto
Dr. Debby Copes Toronto
Dr. Gordon Guyatt Hamilton
Dr. John Frank Toronto
Subject Headings: Abortion
Health Centres Drug
Care Budgets Health
Care Cost Containment Health
Care Costs Health
Care Delivery Health
Care Finance & Fund-Raising Health
Care in Canada Health
Care in Ontario Health
Care in the U.K. Health
Care in the U.S. Health
Care Myths Health
Care Reform Health
Care Resources Health
Care Services Health
Care Workers Health
Service Organizations Health/Social
Justice Issues Health
Human Resources Medical
Research Funding Medicare
Health & Safety Patients'
Human Resources Pro-Choice
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Toronto, Ontario, M6G 1L9, Canada Tel: 416–964–7799
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