QUEEN’S PARK – The NDP is keeping up its campaign to stop Doug Ford from sending more surgeries to for-profit clinics with Health critic France Gélinas’ bill to protect Ontarians from unfair and illegal health care fees heading to second reading at Queen’s Park Wednesday.
“There is a crisis in our hospitals right now, and sending more surgeries to for-profit clinics will only make that worse,” said Gélinas. “People are already getting stuck with big bills by for-profit clinics, thanks to weak oversight. That leaves people to pay out thousands of dollars they don’t have to spare or take on massive debts.”
The Ontario Health Coalition, Canadian Doctors for Medicare, Canadian Medical Association Journal and the Auditor General of Ontario have all found that for-profit health care centres often charge unfair fees and request unnecessary tests for patients.
“More privatization like Doug Ford wants will mean more big bills for patients, and even longer waits in pain as resources are drained away from our precious public health care system,” said Gélinas. “We should be cracking down on this predatory practice, not expanding privatization in health care.”
Gélinas’ proposed legislation will ensure that there are consequences for for-profit facilities who charge Ontarians unfair fees. The Health Care is Not for Sale Act would give regulatory colleges for health care professionals the ability to issue fines and suspend licenses by recognizing the predatory practice as professional misconduct. For-profit clinics found to be charging patients unfair fees could also lose their licences to operate and be compelled to reimburse patients.
“If passed, the Health Care is Not For Sale Act will bring in new oversight and penalties against for-profit facilities that charge patients unfair fees,” said Gélinas. “Unfair fees in health care are something the regulatory colleges responsible for protecting patients should be empowered to address.”
The NDP has been calling on the Ford government to end its push to privatize Ontario’s health care and invest in public hospitals instead. With a crisis in our hospitals, Ford can address the staffing crisis in health care immediately by:
- Offering health care workers competitive wages and incentives
- Repealing Doug Ford’s wage-capping Bill 124, which is driving nurses away
- Further expediting certification of internationally educated health care professionals
“The way to protect our public health care system is to invest in it,” said Gélinas. “In addition to cracking down on unfair patient fees, we need to invest in bringing more nurses into our hospitals, improving the quality of care, and keeping wait times short. Protecting patients from predatory fees in health care will help keep the hands of for-profit operators off our incredibly important public health system and stop Ford’s encroaching privatization.”