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People living with disabilities raise concerns about Quebec's plan to reform health-care system

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Health Minister Christian Dubé hopes to pass his health-care bill before the holidays but many are concerned about how the new legislation will affect access to health care, including people living with disabilities.

They say their concerns are not being heard.

Montreal songwriter John Cody had a great career working with the likes of Bonnie Raitt and Tom Cochrane, not to mention his many solo records. But these days, Cody is dealing with a neurodegenerative disease that, in his words, makes him invisible in society and in Quebec's health-care system.

At a time when Quebec is about to pass its massive health-care reform, known as Bill 15, he and others in his situation are concerned their voices will no longer be heard.

Ronald Pelletier, for example, says he's witnessed access to care for the disabled get worse with every reform.

"We are specifically talking about Bill 15, which, to me, is a monster that will leave us out of the system,"Pelletier said. "Making the system bigger does not make it better."

Their biggest concern is that bureaucrats will take over decisions normally guided by user committees.

"It's silencing us, it's silencing another one of our freedoms, another level of our independence," said Sandra Malloy, a health-care advocate.

Dubé, Quebec's health minister, has said that user committees would still be heard under Bill 15 but advocates don't trust him.

"It's a live bill, it keeps changing from day-to-day, so if you're not on top of it, something might slip under the radar and we'd be unaware of it," said Joanne Charron, a member of the users’ committee at Lethbridge-Layton-Mackay Rehabilitation Centre.

Cody knows he might not live much longer and fears he'll slowly disappear into the health-care reform.

"People look through you. They look around you, sometimes they don't even know you're there," he said. 

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