MONTREAL – Extra health care fees may soon be a thing of the past, according to the Quebec Liberals.
The Couillard government has announced a new plan to deal with the controversial issue, which can cost patients up to $500 for minor operations or other procedures.
In one year, that could total $50 million for those seeking medical treatment.
“The government has every intention of resolving the problem of extra fees,” Julie White, a spokesperson for Health Minister Gaétan Barrette, told Global News.
For months, opposition parties have accused the health minister of wanting to legalize extra fees under Bill 20, which would set patient quotas for family doctors.
“Built into the law, any fees to the patient would be prohibited,” said Health Minister Gaétan Barrette. “We just need to implement the regulation that has to come with the bill.”
Barrette’s office said Monday the government wants the fees to be included in doctor salaries, something that will have to be discussed during negotiations.
The government has been evaluating the actual costs that end up on a patient’s plate and discovered that they are much lower than expected.
“What we saw is that those costs are so low, there’s no reason in our view for them not to be included in the fee schedule of doctors,” Barrette said.
WATCH BELOW: Quebec health minister Gaétan Barrette addresses issues in the province
The province’s 20,000 doctors and specialists currently make a combined total of about $7 billion.
That amount is expected to rise to $9 billion in five years, an increase of 87.5 per cent between 2010 and 2020.