Astonishing the federal silence on healthcare and healthcare reform as provinces gamely struggle to respond to the current stresses and future challenges of an aging population!  Surprising too the easy acceptance by federal politicians of the “almost user fee” proposed in Quebec.

Undeniably in this, as in other social issues, Quebec is showing real leadership and, in its package of proposals, real ingenuity.  Major reform of how we provide and fund healthcare is a must.   But a tax on sickness isn’t the answer.  Do we want parents  worried about the costs of bringing their children to a doctor?  Do we want fee-paying patients to start demanding choice and higher and higher levels of service and speed in exchange for their fee?  And just how much money will be collected once you subtract the costs of administration?

The Quebec government should be congratulated for putting the issues on the political agenda and for its leadership in reform.  But even if the “user fee” proposed does not violate the letter of the Canada Health Act, there are better ways to fund the healthcare we want and the reform we need

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