By JIM MACDONALD (external - login to view)
Prime Minister Stephen Harper is raising grave concerns about a key aspects of Alberta's Third Way health-care reforms.
In a letter to Premier Ralph Klein, Harper hints that allowing doctors to practise in both the public and private health-care systems at the same time may violate the Canada Health Act. "Dual practice creates conflict of interest for physicians as there would be financial incentive for them to stream patients into the private portion of their practice," Harper said in the letter sent last Friday.
"Furthermore, dual practice legitimizes queue-jumping as it provides an approved mechanism for patients to pay to seek treatment at the front of the line."
"Moreover, such dual practice may be a magnet for rural physicians to migrate to urban centres."
"My concern is that limiting the breadth of publicly funded coverage may increase the scope for coverage by private health insurance, thus potentially limiting access to coverage for those who cannot afford it or are not eligible because of pre-existing health conditions."