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NEWS: Quebec drops plan for $25 per hospital visit fee

In late-March, Premier Jean Charest’s government proposed two new fees for health care services in Quebec. The CBC reports today that, “The Quebec government has dropped part of its controversial plan to introduce health-care user fees. Quebecers will still pay a $200-a-year health premium, but they will not be charged a ($25) user fee for each hospital visit.”

The Montreal Gazette had reported in March that, “Quebec’s ‘health contribution’ would be phased in over three years, starting with a $25 charge on July 1, rising to $100 a year later and reaching $200 in 2012. It would raise $945 million a year, and a $25 charge for each doctor’s visit would generate $500 million a year.” The $25 per visit to the doctor would have been collected at tax time, not at the doctor’s office.

The Canadian Press had also reported then that, “A potential precedent-setting plan by one province to start charging patients $25 for a doctor’s visit is not being blocked by the federal government — at least not for now. The Quebec move, which could trigger a ripple effect across the country, is being met with a wait-and-see response from Ottawa. The federal government (only) said that it expects provinces to respect the Canada Health Act, but had little else to say when asked whether it considered the move legal under federal law.”

Two earlier campaign blogs on this are at http://canadians.org/campaignblog/?p=3206 and http://canadians.org/campaignblog/?p=3302. Today’s CBC report is at http://www.cbc.ca/canada/montreal/story/2010/09/22/health-user-fees-shelved.html.