MCGuinty Government Moves Forward on Medicare Legislation

Archived Release

MCGuinty Government Moves Forward on Medicare Legislation

Ministry of Health

Amendments Improve the Commitment to the Future of Medicare Act TORONTO, March 9 - The McGuinty government took a major step forward in banning pay-your-way-to the front-of-the-line health care, and making our public system accountable to Ontarians, as the Ontario government tabled its amendments to the Commitment to the Future of Medicare Act. "Medicare is the best expression of Canadians' values. This Bill protects a vital part of our heritage for now and for generations to come," said Health and Long-Term Care Minister, George Smitherman. "Bill 8 will bring strong accountability to health care in Ontario. Accountability agreements and the Ontario Health Quality Council will make health providers and governments answerable to Ontarians for spending precious public dollars to deliver quality care," said Smitherman. "The work of the committee and the input of hundreds of people across the province will improve this legislation," said Smitherman. "This Bill is about deeply held values so we welcomed vigorous debate. We've bridged many of our differences, and there are a few areas we've agreed to disagree. Together we've created a Bill Ontarians can be proud of." The Ontario government tabled the following key amendments to clarify the intent of the Bill: - Stating that the government must make decisions that are in the public interest. - Making explicit that trade unions, individual doctors and groups of doctors are not subject to accountability agreements. - Supporting and enhancing the role of voluntary Boards. - Spelling out the four providers that are subject to accountability agreements - hospitals, long-term care facilities, community care access centres and independent health facilities. - Stating that accountability agreements will be negotiated between Boards and the Minister. - Committing to consult with the public about regulations. "With Bill 8, we're standing up for medicare...12 million Ontarians are counting on us," said Smitherman. Amendments to the legislation are now before the government's Standing Committee on Justice and Social Policy. The Committee held public hearings around the province in February 2004 following the Bill's first reading. This news release is available on our website at: http://www.health.gov.on.ca Version fran├žaise disponibleFor further information: Members of the media: Eva Lannon, Minister's Office, (416) 327-4320; Tanya Cholakov, Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, (416) 314-6197; Members of the general public: (416) 327-4327, or (800) 268-1154