Wednesday, 31 March 2010

The Zombie Returns: Quebec Wants to Charge Health Care User Fees

This just in : big demonstration Thursday, with more action to follow:

This morning we read in the media that Quebec is going to impose a "ticket modérateur" on medical visits beginning in 2012, that this is not a trial balloon, and that discussions are under way with the Federal government about how the Canada Health Act will treat this.

Finance Minister Raymond Bachand, who announced the plan in his budget yesterday, says this is all part of a great plan to put the province's financial house in order, of making the user pay.

This is nonsense, particularly since a number of studies have shown that user fees don't save any money. They also contravene the Canada Health Act which supposedly guarantees universally accessible medical care in Canada, which in turn means that there should be no economic barriers to getting care.

For some time, I've been agitating among the groups I belong to for campaigns to actually enforce the Canada Health Act. But there has been sorrowfully little action, even among my friends at the NDP who should be in the front rows of such a campaign.

Pity. Let us hope that there is vociferous protest to this part of Bachand's right wing budget.

Let us not forget either that major reasons why Canada has come out of the global financial meltdown so well are outgrowths of policies light years away from the philosophy of Bachand, Charest, Harper and company--a good social safety net that kept purchasing power up, public investment in infrastructure projects begun before the trouble began, and better regulation of financial institutions.

Thanks to UBC health economist Robert Evans for his comparison of health care user fees with zombies, BTW.

1 comment:

ck said...

I heard the wankfest on CJAD this morning. James Mennie is certainly catching up to Tommy Schnurmacher's wankfest indeedy and the gang of 4's hypocrisy as well as those of the callers, maybe this budget isn't as far to the right as we think. In fact, after 2 hours of the hypocrisy of Trudy Mason and Kim Fraser and the callers and the more I think about it, perhaps this budget isn't so bad. Oh those right ring pundits and their sniveling and their hypocrisy really irritate the hell out of me.

Kim used to Be on Welfare herself a few times, yet today, now that she's making better money with her career, she seems to be eager to begrudge someone else in bad luck who may need welfare.
We progressives have been saying that the feds should and must increase the GST for openers.

In the province we're increasing the TVQ. I always thought the problem with much of today's cons was that culture greed, excess and materialism. Perhaps that 9.5% TVQ will bring us back to basics.

Folks worried about our kids' increasing obesity problem? Perhaps this sales tax will have parents buying less of those evil video games and start sending the kids out to play more often, and instead of MacDonald's everyday (yes, most of the families I"ve met in this day and age live on fast food; nobody cooks anymore), so now, we'll have to make time to cook nutritious meals.

No, not everybody is going to start shopping in the U.S.: many folks have criminal records and the states doesn't allow folks with even the most minute of misdemeanors.

AS for the health care contribution. If it is just those prices mentioned alone and it ends there: I'm ok with that: it's still cheaper than BC which pays 57$ per month/approx. Also, Hell of a lot cheaper than the American Health care system. We can still go to the ER without worrying about being in a drugged fog, with an iv tube still inserted while you're loaded onto a taxi and dumped on skid row somewhere (that really does happen in the U.S. if you can't pay your hospital bill).

Also, low income households will be exempt from this fee.

I am, however, worried about this newfangled thing they want to implement; the additional fees depending on how often one uses the health care system. This would set a very dangerous stage to introduce more private for profit health care; the American Health care system, faster than you can say pre-existing condition. It will be up to us: yes US to get up off our duffs to make sure this doesn't happen.

I am fearful that somebody with Multiple Sclerosis, or cancer or born with something like Diabetes of CF or those with other health problems through no fault of their own would be discriminated against, a la Americana

Furthermore, Ottawa is only keeping an eye out because Stevie is salivating about scrapping the Canada health and making way for the American styled private for profit health care system. Other provinces like Ontario who have private for profit are also infringing on the Canada health act while Steve 'looks away'; with glee, no less. No, don't count on help from the Harpercons.

As for gas tax: well, I was always on the side of Bicycle Bob, to ban car traffic in Montreal: most Montrealers drive to run over folks and not care. They can't drive properly. My grandfather always said if you can't do something properly, don't do it at all.

Perhaps it will get kids walking to school instead of being driven to school. Seriously. I've noticed kids being driven to schools only one or two blocks away from the house. In my day, we walked 15 = 20mins to and from school; and yes, we had lunch at home; so we had to do the walk to and from school 4 times/day in all. We were healthier.

I don't know how much of this budget will actually come to pass or not. The only thing I would like to see scrapped is that road to pre-existing conditions; no additional charges for a lot of hospital or doctor visits.