McGuinty government moves to outlaw two-tier health care in Ontario

Archived Release

McGuinty government moves to outlaw two-tier health care in Ontario

Ministry of Health

New Bill Would Stop Creeping Privatization Of Health Care TORONTO, Nov. 27 - George Smitherman, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, introduced a bill today that would make universal, public medicare the law in Ontario and put an end to the creeping privatization of the system in recent years. "We are slamming the door shut on two-tier, pay-your-way-to-the-front-of- the-line health care in Ontario," said Minister Smitherman. "This bill would enshrine into law what we already deeply believe in our hearts -- that every member of our society has an equal right to quality health care based on need, not income." The Commitment to the Future of Medicare Act would also entrench accountability as a principle of medicare in Ontario and create a provincial health council to keep an eye on the system. "Unlike the previous government, our commitment to medicare is total," said Minister Smitherman. "That's why we strongly support the creation of a national health council, which they opposed; and that's why we overturned their plans and moved quickly to ensure that new hospitals in Ottawa and Brampton will be publicly owned, publicly controlled, and publicly accountable." The Health Minister said the bill reflects the public's overwhelming desire for quality, accessible health care, now and into the future. "On October 2nd, Ontarians voted for positive change in health care," said Minister Smitherman. "That means making medicare more public, universal, and accountable -- not dismantling it brick by brick." This news release is available on our website at: http://www.health.gov.on.ca Version fran├žaise disponible Att: Backgrounder Backgrounder ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care COMMITMENT TO THE FUTURE OF MEDICARE ACT The McGuinty government made a total commitment to universal, public medicare today with its introduction of the Commitment to the Future of Medicare Act. The bill would put an end to the creeping privatization of the system in recent years by making universal, public medicare the law in Ontario. Two-tier health care based on ability to pay would be outlawed. In addition, the bill would establish the Ontario Health Quality Council and make accountability a principle of medicare in Ontario. Highlights of the Commitment to the Future of Medicare Act: Enshrining Universal, Public Medicare Into Law The proposed legislation would enshrine universal, public medicare into law and take several measures to close the door on the growth of two-tier medicine, including: - Making it illegal for people to pay to get faster medical care for insured services - Enhancing the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care's ability to collect, use and disclose information about extra billing - Giving providers and consumers whistle-blowing protection should they report extra billing or queue jumping and - Ensuring that all health care providers who are covered by OHIP are responsible for OHIP billings made under their OHIP number. Ontario Health Quality Council The Ontario Health Quality Council would report to Ontarians on important health care issues. Its members would be selected for their knowledge of the health care system, their experience in patient care and their background in government accountability and public finance. At least one member would be cross-appointed to a future national health council. The council would monitor access to publicly funded health care (including waiting times), examine the state of Ontarians' health and provide the public with clear reporting on health measures that are important to Ontarians. Its reports would also track long-term health goals and help Ontarians better understand their health system. Entrenching Accountability The bill would entrench accountability as a principle of medicare in Ontario. It would allow agreements between health care organizations and their executives, and the government. Accountability agreements would ensure targets are met in areas such as service quality and access. If health care organizations meet or exceed the terms of an accountability agreement, the Minister would be able to recognize their efforts in various ways. The Minister could order corrective actions if there is a failure to comply. Accountability agreements and compliance directives could be made available to the public. Individual clinicians would continue to be held accountable for their conduct through their professional colleges. /NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available on the Canadian Press Photo Network/For further information: Members of the media: Ted Haugen, Minister's Media Office, (416) 327-4322; Tanya Cholakov, Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, (416) 314-6197; Members of the general public: (416) 327-4327, or (800) 268-1154