June 22, 2011
URGENT ACTION ALERT – Nurses to Party Leaders: Take Stand on Publicly-Funded Not-for-Profit Health Care
Ontarians should not be charged user fees to access essential health services that are covered under the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP). But that’s exactly what’s happening here in Ontario. They may be called executive medical clinics or colonoscopy clinics. Or they may sell laser eye surgeries in order to by-pass waiting lists and provide access to medically necessary cataract surgeries. What they all have in common is the user fees that for-profit clinics charge are illegal. These “boutique” clinics must not be allowed to profit from hard-earned public health funds.
In October 2008, the RNAO joined the Ontario Health Coalition and Doctors for Medicare in releasing Eroding Public Medicare: Lessons and Consequences of For-Profit Health Care Across Canada.  This groundbreaking report documented examples of queue-jumping, extra-billing and the sale of medically necessary services These for-profit clinics maximize revenue by both charging patients privately and billing the public OHIP. Why is this a problem? Not only are the prices charged by for-profit clinics too high for most people to afford, but they take scarce health-care professionals away from the provision of universally accessible health-care services. They undermine the equitable access to not-for-profit publicly-funded health care - regardless of who they are and ability to pay - that we value so much as Canadians.
What Can Nurses Do?
With a provincial election on October 6, 2011, now is the time to make sure all political parties commit to enforce the Canada Health Act, strengthen not-for-profit publicly-funded health care and use public funds exclusively to deliver necessary health services that are timely, universally accessible and not-for-profit.
A Bold and Necessary Step
This week, nurses applauded the McGuinty government’s crack-down on illegal billing for OHIP-insured services . Now it’s the other parties’ turn to say where they stand on for-profit privatization of health care. Write to the four Party Leaders TODAY. Send the Action Alert below to Premier Dalton McGuinty (Liberal), Tim Hudak (Progressive Conservative), Andrea Horwath (NDP) and Mike Schreiner (Green Party).
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