MONTREAL- Jacques Chaoulli, the Montreal doctor who went to the Supreme Court of Canada forcing Quebec to change its policy on wait times and private health insurance, launched a one-stop health referral centre for paying members on Monday.
For a fee of $40, the Chaoulli Group will act as a brokerage firm matching patients with family doctors and specialists, diagnostic procedures and surgeries. The medical care is to be covered by private insurance or out-of-pocket payments. Chaoulli says his motive is to help Quebec get rid of wait lists and reduce patient suffering. But the criticism was swift.
Michael McBane, head of the Canadian Health Coalition, condemned Chaoulli for chipping away at universal health care.
“He wants to take us back to life before Medicare,” McBane said.
Caught off-guard, the provincial Health Department immediately referred the matter to its legal department for analysis.
“We’re not sure this business plan is legal,” said Isabelle Merizzi, spokesperson to Health Minister Philippe Couillard.
Brokering medical services falls into a “grey zone”, she said.
“We’d like to improve health access, but not when money spent by a third party is to the detriment of others.”
Chaoulli’s plan calls on doctors paid by the public system to “moonlight” in the private system.