5 minute Consulta ceps, an insurer with over 25,000 members in Canada, said the bill is the latest example of the Conservative government trying to roll back some of its health reforms.
The government’s proposed changes to the Canadian Health Act are meant to address concerns about the cost of care.
They include a change that would allow insurers to charge a “catch-up” fee for enrollees whose health care needs are not being met by their insurance provider, but it has been met by a much smaller portion of enrollees, with fewer than 1% in some cases.
While the legislation has received widespread criticism from critics of the health system, the government has said that the proposed changes are necessary to address the “risk of adverse selection” that leads to underinsurance.
“We believe that this is a necessary step towards making Canada more accessible to Canadians and ensuring that Canadians receive the care they need,” said spokeswoman Cara Cargill in an email.
She added that the government plans to introduce the new legislation by the end of the year.
But with the bill coming out of committee on Wednesday, the Liberal government will have to pass a law by the fall to put the changes into effect.
Conservative health critic Lisa Raitt has been working to find ways to stop the bill from coming to the House of Commons.
In a statement released Thursday, she called the bill “a massive rollback of essential health services” and said the Liberals “shouldn’t be able to pass legislation that is so clearly designed to harm Canadians.”
But her party’s health critic, John Milloy, said Raitt’s comments on Wednesday were “totally out of line.”
“There’s been no discussion whatsoever on how to address that problem,” Milloy said.
“There are ways to address it, but this is just one more thing.”
Raitt is also calling on Health Minister Jane Philpott to come out against the bill and say publicly that she opposes the proposed legislation.
A spokesperson for the minister did not respond to questions from The Globe and Mail.
Raitt and Philpot have been locked in a fierce debate in the House, with the Conservatives threatening to vote against the legislation unless the government changes the rules.
While Philpartt has not indicated she would vote against it, she has also criticized the bill as being “unnecessary.”
Rait said she has spoken with Philpett on Wednesday about the bill, and “I think she understands the concern that Canadians have.”
She added, “I’m hoping that she will join me in opposing this bill.”
On Thursday, Philpatt tweeted that she was “confident we can pass legislation.”
But Raitt said she will not support that and will continue to fight to stop it.
“I’ll be voting no, no,” she said.
With files from the Canadian Press