National Headlines

Should the wealthy be allowed to buy their way to faster health care at private clinics? | CANADA, The Star

Regal Health Services in downtown Toronto charges a $3,700 annual fee for services, including “quarterly mini-physical examinations.” Much of the fee, according to the company’s website, covers extensive testing, including a “personalized comprehensive health and lifestyle assessment,” MRIs “within days” and “personalized blood screening and imaging assessment (OHIP covers some).”

A growing number of boutique medical clinics is establishing a second tier of health services that critics say encroaches on Ontario’s public health system by charging as much as $4,500 in annual fees for services such as no wait times, genetic analysis and added testing that isn’t always medically necessary. A Toronto Star/Ryerson School of Journalism investigation documents a hybrid health-care regime that markets to a clientele who can access public health care while paying for services that reach beyond what is covered by OHIP, including 24/7 access to health-care professionals, fast-tracking of MRIs and a range of annual tests and lifestyle assessments.

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