Advocates for patients' rights say the Couillard government is going against the spirit of universal health care with its plan to allow and standardize some user fees.

In a news conference Sunday, the coalition named Quebec Doctors for Medicare said doctors are overcharging patients for some tests and medications used for procedures including colonoscopies and vasectomies.

It argued that it understands clinics are doing it because they aren't getting reimbursed enough from the RAMQ, but it said that problem shouldn't be dumped on sick people.

In some cases doctors' offices charge patients $150 as an administrative fee.

The coalition said that is patently illegal, and estimate the practice is costing Quebecers an additional $60-80 million per year.

The government plans to stipulate what fees are permissible this fall with proposed changes to the Bill 20 health care reform legislation.

The RAMQ's website currently offers a list of services for which you may not be billed. They include:

  • examinations;
  • medically required surgery;
  • the opening, management or computerization of medical records;
  • diagnostic or therapeutic procedures;
  • staff remuneration (secretarial work, archiving, filing, sterilization, housekeeping or assistance provided to doctors in treatment or operating rooms);
  • materials used (syringes, needles, gastric rings, dressings, capsules taken for video of digestive endoscopy or any disposable materials);
  • materials or products used to sterilize medical instruments;
  • use of medical equipment or instruments, known as a "technical support centre", used in operating rooms;
  • rental or upkeep of facilities;
  • use of new technology that is not considered experimental;
  • shorter wait times on waiting lists;
  • lump sums required in advance for services not yet rendered.

For the full list of fees for which you may and may not be billed, click here.