Policy and Political Action

Policy & Political Action

Protect Medicare with legislated ban on medical tourism

Dear Minister Hoskins,

As a coalition of health service providers committed to a universal, publicly-funded and not-for-profit health system, which provides access and care based on need and not the ability to pay, we were encouraged by your announcement on November 21, 2014 directing hospitals to:

“… not market to, solicit or treat international patients, with the exception of international patient activity related to a hospital's existing international consulting contracts.”

We were also encouraged to know that you will review all existing international contracts within the next four to six months.

It has been a number of months since you initiated a review of medical tourism (international patient programs) in Ontario’s hospitals. And, we have not been involved or received any updates since your announcement in November 2014.

The risk associated with medical tourism eroding the fabric of Medicare persists. Given your concern, along with complete support from both opposition parties for a full and complete ban on medical tourism, the time is ripe to solidify a legislated ban on inbound medical tourism in Ontario. A ban, through legislation, will put an immediate stop to current medical tourism programs and will prevent future programs from surfacing. This measure will protect Medicare from profit-generating forces that seek to put revenue ahead of Ontarians' needs.

Minister, as you know, we are not advocating for any restrictions on not-for-profit humanitarian assistance through our health-care facilities. However, we owe it to the people of Ontario to ensure that our health system serves people according to need, not ability to pay; and no one can use their wealth to jump the queue, whether they live in Sudbury or Saudi Arabia.

We look forward to your response.

Yours with warm regards,

Doris Grinspun, RN, MSN, PhD, LLD(hon), O.ONT.
Chief Executive Officer
Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario

Adrianna Tetley
Chief Executive Officer
Association of Ontario Health Centres

Kelly Stadelbauer, RN, BScN, MBA
Executive Director
Association of Ontario Midwives

Dr. Monika Dutt, MD, CCFP, FRCPC, MPH, MBA, MFA (candidate)
Chair
Canadian Doctors for Medicare

Cc.
Hon. Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario
Jim Wilson, Interim Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario
Andrea Horwath, Leader of the New Democratic Party of Ontario
Christine Elliott, Health Critic, Ontario Progressive Conservative Party
France Gélinas, Health Critic, New Democratic Party of Ontario

Resource Type: 
Letter