Doug Ford's OHIP move strikes at the heart of medicare - 2019-04-25
The Ontario government's proposal to end out-of-country emergency OHIP coverage is a bad one. It is presented as a minimalist measure. It is anything but. Rather, it is a violation of the Canada Health Act. It strikes right at the heart of medicare.
Canadian medicare is, in essence, an insurance plan. Those who live in this country are automatically covered by their provincial medicare programs when they use physician or hospital services anywhere inside or outside of Canada. This is known as portability. In the case of those who are "temporarily absent" from the country, the Canada Health Act reads as follows: "Where the insured services are provided out of Canada, payment is made on the basis of the amount that would have been paid by the province for similar services rendered in the province."
The amount of reimbursement is supposed to be based on what it would have cost to have the leg set in an Ontario hospital. Over the years, various provinces — including Ontario — have played fast and loose with this particular portability requirement of the law. Some have chosen to arbitrarily lowball the estimated cost of domestic hospital services in order to limit the amounts claimed by Canadians requiring emergency care while travelling out of country.