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History: 19781988 FROM COST CONTROL TO HEALTH PROMOTION: IMPLEMENTING MEDICARE, 19681978 SAVING THE SYSTEM: THE CANADA HEALTH ACT, THE OTTAWA CHARTER AND ACHIEVING HEALTH FOR ALL, 19781988 THE ENDLESS CHALLENGE: BALANCING CHANGE AND CONTINUITY, 19892007



Alberta and Extra-Billing

Alberta had been one of the strongest opponents of the Canada Health Act but, by 1984, the economic problems associated with the recession were causing provincial bureaucrats to worry about deficits. Could the province afford to lose the $36 million in fines that would accrue by 1987? And did the government want to contend with more agitation from the Friends of Medicare, the Alberta branch of the Canadian Health Coalition? Using the Ontario doctors’ strike as an object lesson in poor negotiating strategy, the Alberta Medical Association and the Minister of Health, Marvin Moore, began to discuss how to meet the federal requirements. The end result was a deal to end extra-billing in return for increases in the fee schedule, a provision for an “extraordinary medical services fee,” which covered extra care and unlisted services, binding arbitration, and the option of both physician and patient opting out of the provincial plan without any expectation of reimbursement, as was done in Quebec.

Photo: Ban extra billing
Ban extra billing

Ontario’s premier, David Peterson, faces opposition to his government’s attempts to negotiate with the province’s doctors. The doctors went on strike three months after Merle Tingley published this cartoon.
Library and Archives Canada, Acc. No. 1987-55-37, e008440955. © Merle Tingley.



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    Date Created: March 31, 2010 | Last Updated: April 21, 2010