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NEWS: Council opposes CMA discussion on user fees

The Toronto Sun reports, “User fees have once again elbowed their way into Canada’s health-care debate. A Canadian Medical Association-commissioned advisory panel sparked a discussion on the topic when it urged Canadians to consider user fees — among other funding options — in a new report on fixing Canada’s health-care system.”

“The proposals are being debated this week at the CMA’s annual meeting in St. John’s. The CMA is considering whether to include elements of the report in its action plan for the upcoming health accord debates between the federal and provincial governments.”

The article highlights, “Universal medicare advocacy groups, however, are disappointed with the panel for placing user fees on the table. Adrienne Silnicki, a health-care campaigner for the Council of Canadians, says user fees open the door to privatization and violate Canada’s Health Act provisions on extra billing. ‘I really don’t think it’s a conversation worth having because it undermines the values that Canadians have,’ she said.”

Also, “Canadian Doctors for Medicare’s Dr. Bob Woollard says user fees have already been rejected by some provinces, most recently Quebec. Last year, the province tried to implement a $25 user fee before being forced to withdraw the proposal following a sustained public outcry.”

The full Sun Media article is at http://m.torontosun.com/2011/08/23/cma-panel-sparks-user-fee-debate.