QS wants to add 'anti-private shield' to Quebec's health reform bill
Published Wednesday, May 31, 2023 8:48AM EDT Last Updated Wednesday, May 31, 2023 9:44AM EDT
As parliamentarians begin studying the 1,180-article healthcare reform tabled by Minister Christian Dubé, Québec solidaire (QS) is proposing three amendments described as an "anti-private shield."
Québec solidaire health critic Vincent Marissal will submit his three suggestions to colleagues Wednesday as work on Bill 15 resumes.
The proposed "Act to make the health and social services system more efficient" would create a government corporation called Santé Québec, responsible for coordinating the operations of the entire network.
The ministry would retain its role of dictating policy and determining budgets.
Among the many criticisms levelled at the reform, some fear the Coalition avenir Québec (CAQ) government wants to accelerate the privatization of healthcare to the detriment of the public system.
In Vincent Marissal's words, this bill constitutes "the most frontal attack" on the public nature of the healthcare network.
The MNA for Rosemont proposes withdrawing two articles -- 485 and 506 -- and adding a plan to bring certain services currently provided by private clinics back into the public system.
Article 485 would allow the Santé Québec agency to authorize the operation of private establishments that offer services comparable to those already provided by the public network.
Article 506 describes the types of services that can be offered by a specialized medical center if authorized by Santé Québec.
The third point of his plan aims to recover care the private sector provides, allowing the public network to repatriate staff and resources that have been "siphoned off" by its private counterparts.
On a more philosophical note, Marissal also wants to reinstate the principle of the "right" to "free, public and accessible" health care.
"This is major. Right now, in the law, it's a right. That right disappears in Bill 15. If you don't receive a service to which you're entitled, you have recourse. If it's no longer a right, you have no recourse," Marissal said in an interview with The Canadian Press.
Quebec's Commission de la santé et des services sociaux (health and social services commission) held six consultation sessions on Bill 15, during which stakeholders from the medical, social, union, administrative, community and other sectors participated.
More than a hundred briefs were submitted to the commission with the goal of improving the bill.
Throughout the proceedings, Dubé reiterated that he was listening and that his bill had room for improvement.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on May 31, 2023.