Symbolic health bill: a gift, really?

Christian Dubé, Minister of Health, says he wants to finally introduce a “symbolic bill” which, after a person has received public assistance, would be sent to him.

In a press conference he also asked himself “what would be the pleasure and happiness of a citizen to say: I just received a nice gift of 18,000 piastres because I had my two hips changed and it didn’t cost me anything. This is our principle of universality”.

A gift”. Really? With all due respect to the minister, in the vast department of false good ideas, this deserves a place of honour. The idea has been hovering for decades in the wide corridors of senior officials, but it remains just as bad.

The reality is that there is nothing “free” about health care and social services. Their costs are covered by all taxpayers. Except those who are too poor and do not pay taxes.

The principle of universality therefore means that, without having to pay additional taxes, everyone has access to the public health network on the basis of their needs and not on the basis of their income.

The substitution of two hips is therefore not a “gift” from the state. It is a service for which we pay collectively. Ditto for chemotherapy, cardiac surgery, palliative care, etc.

To do what?

Another problem with the idea of ​​a token bill is in its motivation. What would it be for? To inform people or, rather, to make them feel guilty so that they use the public network less?

Given the sums incurred, in fact, people could be tempted to deprive themselves of treatment so as not to “cost” too much.

When you are ill, disabled or elderly with a loss of independence, assistance and social services are the first thing you need. The last one is to tell ourselves how much it “costs” to do it.

On this account every citizen could also send his own symbolic invoices to the State. What’s good for the kitty should be good for the kitty.

If only in loss of income, how much does it cost us individually to spend 20 or 30 hours in the emergency room? That we wait more than a year for an intervention without which we are less or non-functional?

When do you spend hours (or days) looking for an appointment because you don’t have a family doctor or is your family doctor unavailable?

No need for a token invoice

How much does it cost us when we are diagnosed with cancer too late due to lack of access to specialists? How much is a life worth? How much does it cost us when we have to withdraw our Visa card in the private sector to see a doctor or have important tests done because in the public it would take months?

When do we need home care but are denied it? When do caregivers burn out from lack of support and respite? And the list is far from exhaustive.

In short, something tells me that deep down, the highly esteemed Minister of Health knows very well that the idea of ​​a symbolic bill does not hold up.

Just as he knows that what Quebecers need is not to know how much “costs” each in a network paid for by the whole of society.

What they need is an accessible public system of welfare and social services. Quality. Decentralized. Responsible and more human.

When executives suspend employees for eating a toast or a donut, the symbolic invoice, it is to the bosses and bosses of the network that we should send it…

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