William Watson describes the latest insanity in the June 24, 2009 Financial Post:
...To keep expenses down, Quebec's Ministry of Health imposes surtaxes on physicians who make more than about $200,000 a year -- gross of expenses. What with swine flu and all, it's been a busy year for pediatricians. Some of those running the Tiny Tots Clinic apparently have already bumped up against their maximum income. As a result, they're now going to be paid at 25¢ on the dollar for all the services they provide between now and the end of the year.Read the whole thing.
Think of it as a kind of Tax Freedom Day in reverse. Tax Freedom Day is when you've earned enough in the year to pay all your taxes and can then start working for yourself. But if you're a Quebec doctor, it works the other way around: As early as June, depending how hard you worked the first part of the year, you may start working almost entirely for the government.
Trouble is, 25¢ on the dollar doesn't pay the clinic's overhead. So the clinic has been restricting its hours while the doctors petition the Minister of Health for permission to be re-classified so they can keep working with full remuneration for the services they’re providing.
What a bizarre country we live in. A doctor wants to treat a child. That child's parent wants the child treated. But if the doctor is to be paid for providing treatment, they have to await permission from the Minister of Health.
If the government pays for health care, it will demand a say in how the money is spent. These sorts of problems are the inevitable result...