The introduction of user-pay MRI scan legislation by the Government of Saskatchewan is the beginning of two-tier health care, says CUPE.
“Allowing those able to pay for private MRI scans to get access to health care more quickly – regardless of need – is the introduction of two-tier health care,” said Tom Graham, President of CUPE Saskatchewan. “While those with large wallets can get MRIs quickly, the rest of us will have to wait.”
Graham pointed to provinces that have experimented with the pay-per-use model where studies have shown an increase in overall wait times. In Alberta, the private pay-per-use model resulted in a contravention of the Canada Health Act and the province was forced to repay patients for medically necessary MRI scans.
The union has further concerns with private MRI operators poaching health care professionals from the public system which already experiences staff shortages from private clinics.
“Legislation that allows people to jump the queue and causes the poaching of health care professionals from the public system will lead to reduced access to health care and longer wait lists,” said Graham. “Passing off more costs to patients and draining the public health care system is not innovative, it’s privatization.”
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