With such strong public support, Bégin was able to persuade her Cabinet colleagues that the problem would be solved by new legislation that combined the original acts and added a new principle — accessibility — with provision for a dollar-for-dollar reduction in federal transfer payments if provinces continued to allow extra-billing or user fees. When the Canada Health Act was presented to Parliament in December 1983, it provoked great opposition from the provinces and medical associations and received strong support from voluntary organizations and the public. During committee sessions for both the House of Commons and the Senate, provincial health ministers and representatives of provincial medical associations warned of the dire consequences of proceeding with the legislation. Job action, exodus to the United States, provincial defiance of federal requirements and a decline in the quality of health care were all indicated as possible responses. But when the federal Conservatives indicated that they would support the legislation, it was clear that the public’s views had prevailed. In one decade, medicare had become central to the Canadian identity, and its defenders supported the federal government’s legislation to maintain national standards.