HALIFAX – Nova Scotians will continue to have fair and equal access to the health care they need with legislation introduced today, Nov. 22.
"The new Insured Health Services Act safeguards Nova Scotia's single tier, publicly funded health-care system," said Health and Wellness Minister David Wilson. "It ensures equal access to health care for Nova Scotians, and reaffirms this government's commitment to the principles in the Canada Health Act."
The new legislation will replace the 39-year-old Health Services and Insurance Act, the provincial legislation that guides the health insurance program.
The Health Services and Insurance Act was enacted in 1973 and the health-care system has evolved significantly over the past four decades. The modernized legislation will better reflect today's health-care system and ensure that health care remains fair and available to all Nova Scotians.
The Department of Health and Wellness sought input last summer from health-care partners, other stakeholders and the public to develop the legislation.
"I am very pleased to see this legislation come forward today," said Ian Johnson, NSGEU servicing co-ordinator and vice-chair, Nova Scotia Citizens Health Care Network. "In my 30 years of working to protect, strengthen and extend Medicare, this is the single most important legislative initiative ever taken by a government in this province, and long overdue."
While it maintains many aspects of the old act, the new Insured Health Services Act will: -- introduce a new appeals board for patients -- support collaborative models of care -- provide explicit prohibitions against queue jumping, extra billing and user fees -- place limits on direct billing -- support alternative funding arrangements for health-care provider -- eliminate reimbursements for services provided outside the MSI plan