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QS wants Dubé to prevent patients from being scammed in the “Wild West” of the private sector

Photo: Jacques Boissinot The Canadian Press Quebec solidaire MP Vincent Marissal wants Quebec to decide on price scales for services offered outside the public health network.

Québec solidaire (QS) asks Minister of Health Christian Dubé to cap the costs of private sector companies to prevent patients from being scammed when they seek treatment.

QS deputy Vincent Marissal, whose party is against the development of the private sector, called on Friday for the creation of price scales to order the provision of services outside the public sector.

“At the very least, can we at least put a cap, cap it quickly so that we stop scamming people because at the moment there is no grid, he said at a press briefing. When there is no grid, obviously, if people can make money with it, less scrupulous people who have easy money, it's almost normal that they will do it. But it is not normal for the government to accept this. »

Mr. Marissal deplored that, in the current context, more and more patients are forced to opt for private care.

“We are talking about screening, the famous baby ear infection, a urinary infection which risks degenerating,” he said. These people have no choice because they look elsewhere, their doctors no longer call back. »

According to him, a private network is developing insidiously and a record number of Quebec doctors have disaffiliated from the public network.

“It's the Wild West in terms of prices, there is no scale for doctors or clinics, because they can also be nurse practitioners, there is no rate,” he said.

From single to quadruple

During a questioning by the minister, at the Salon Bleu, the solidarity MP underlined that the prices charged vary from one place to another. He gave the example of screening for sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections (STIs).

“For primary care, minor emergencies or STI screenings, it can go from single to quadruple, it can be $80 or it can be $320,” he said.

Mr. Dubé did not close the door to the possibility of regulating the prices charged in the private health care sector. He gave the example of Ontario, where rates are set by the equivalent of the Régie de l’assurance santé du Québec (RAMQ).

“If you tell me that what you want is to ensure that we cap prices, we will look at how that could be done because it is done in other provinces” , he replied to Mr. Marissal.

Mr. Dubé has not commented on how he could proceed, through legislation, regulations or during upcoming negotiations with general practitioners.

As part of the discussions, Liberal MP André Fortin expressed his astonishment at Mr. Marissal's request to standardize the prices of private care.

“There seems to be a risk that still exists in what he is proposing, that is to say increasing demand for the unaffiliated private sector,” he said in showing himself open to studying the proposal.

The trend towards private

PQ MP Pascal Paradis affirmed that no conclusive data shows that the private sector improves access to health care or that it costs less.

“It’s quite the opposite,” he said. And there the problem is that the wolf is in the sheepfold, and the government feeds the wolf rather than taking care of the sheepfold. »

The growing role of the private sector in Quebec, where the number of disaffiliated doctors has increased by 57% in five years, drains resources which are no longer available in the public network, affirmed the MP.

CAQ MP Jean-Bernard Émond affirmed that, from 1979 to 2019, government funding to obtain services from the private sector increased by 52%.

“It’s an international trend to turn to the private sector to improve the efficiency of the public health system,” he said. The magic word, I think, is complementarity. »

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116