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Waterloo Region Health Coalition raises concerns over private healthcare bill

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Advocates are hoping to bring attention to concerns around Bill 60.

The Waterloo Region Health Coalition held a virtual meeting Tuesday night regarding the Your Health Act, which allows private clinics in Ontario to perform more OHIP covered surgeries.

Speakers at the meeting called the bill "[Doug] Ford's assault on public healthcare" and demanded the government prevent private-for-profit services and clinics.

"What makes the Ontario government's policy direction especially puzzling and troubling is that, by Canadian standards, Ontario actually performs very well in terms of wait times for priority procedures," said Andrew Longhurst of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. "This is in part because it has not allowed a for-profit surgical sector to destabilize public hospital staffing."

The legislation for Bill 60 was first tabled in February by Health Minister Sylvia Jones, who argued it was necessary to reduce the province's large surgical backlog.

“People should not have to wait for months for diagnosis, and if necessary, surgeries,” Jones said on Feb. 21.

The legislation was met with immediate backlash from advocates and experts concerned about oversight, staffing and upselling.

The province’s official opposition has repeatedly said the plan will result in a two-tiered system leading some patients to “jump to the front of the line.”

With files from CTV Toronto

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