Open letter - Ottawa needs to take responsibility and say no to extra billing - Maurice Dupont, President, RESEAU FADOQ

MONTREAL, May 3, 2016 /CNW Telbec/ - Open letter from the Réseau FADOQ:

With outrage and indignation, our alliance reflects the rejection by civil society of extra billing for health services in Canada, specifically in Quebec where provincial laws now allow this practice.

It is widely known in Quebec that too many patients have to pay over $500 for anaesthesia when having a colonoscopy or $80 for eye drops during the treatment of macular degeneration.

Strangely, Bill 20 – adopted in Québec in November – legalizes these practices that perfectly fit the definition of extra billing, which is prohibited by the Canada Health Act (CHA). In Quebec, patients are taken hostage.

The urgent need to obtain care, and the management of pain or anxiety make patients vulnerable to a system that exploits them and holds them hostage. Just because they are forced to pay these unjustified costs out of their own pockets, doesn't mean they think it's acceptable. It rather indicates resignation, disillusionment and disappointment in a government's opportunism and partisan rhetoric.

The situation in Quebec may spread elsewhere in Canada if governments endorse such practices with no consideration of our Health Act.

We are taking action so that Canada doesn't join countries where health is a luxury, available only to those who can afford it. Our past is an indication of what the future holds. Does the federal government plan to use its power to protect thousands of patients in Quebec? Will it just allow this to happen? The Health Act says they can't just stand by. Let us honour the foundations of the social contract that Canadians share.

ART. 3 of the CHA: "It is hereby declared that the primary objective of Canadian health care policy is to protect, promote and restore the physical and mental well-being of residents of Canada and to facilitate reasonable access to health services without financial or other barriers."

The federal government must act. Remaining on the sidelines is unacceptable. It must ensure proper monitoring of the provinces and penalize offenders by withholding health care transfers when they do not respect their obligations under the CHA. The mandamus filed yesterday reflects the resolve of civil society to protect the rights of Canadian patients.

We sign this letter to defend the public interest, social rights and justice.

Dr Isabelle Leblanc, President – MQRp,  Me Paul Brunet, President- CPM , Lucie Levasseur, President - SCFP – Québec and General Vice-President-CUPE- National, Dr Monika Dutt, President- Canadian Doctors for Medicare, Gail Ouellette, Vice-President - Alliance des patients & President  - RQMO, Jerôme DiGiovanni, President - Coalition priorité cancer, Pierre-Paul Côté, President – AREQ, Dr Hugo Viens, Vice-President to the Board of Directors – AMQ, Simon-Pierre Landry, MD.CMFC-MU, Spokesperson -  ROME , Regine Laurent, President – FIQ, Judith Gagnon, President – AQDR, Jacques Benoît, Coordinator  - Coalition solidarité santé, Micheal Butler, National Health Care Campainer - Council of Canadians , Me Jean-Pierre Menard, Health rights specialised Lawyer, Menard Martin et avocats, Marc-Andre Miranda, former Director of Public Health Program for the Department of Health and Human Services, Réjean Hebert, former Minister of Health and Social Services and former Director of the Public Health Program at the MSSS, Louis Blouin, Member - Comité de lutte en sante de la Clinique communautaire de Pointe St-Charles, Alexandra D'amours, Advocacy Officier Ex æquo, Paul Lamarche, Honorary Professor in Health Administration at the University of Montreal, Mercedez Roberge, Coordinator - Table des regroupements provinciaux d'organismes communautaires, Pauline Worsfold, Registered Nurse -& President - Canadian Health Coalition, Rose-Mary Thonney, Vice-President – AQDR, Pierre Joubert, Former Director of Research and Evaluation at the MSSS and former Director of Research, Training and Development of the INSPQ, Pierre Hurteau, Spokesperson, RECUQ, Jules H. Sauvé, President, AAR, Marcel Lebel, 1st Vice-President - Conférence des tables de concertation des aînes du Quebec



For further information: Brigitte Roussy, Public Affairs/Media Relations, 514-252-3017, ext. 3417 514 248-0160,

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