A confontation is brewing in the Quebec National Assembly between the government and the two opposition parties.
The issue is whether tax payers’ money should be used to cover in-vitro fertilization procedures, which can cost $10,000 and have an average success rate of about 20 per cent.
If both opposition parties hang together, they could defeat the government. Parti Quebecois health critic, Bernard Drainville read a letter from a woman who mortgaged her home and maxed out a line of credit, going $50,000 in debt to pay for in-vitro fertilization.
Drainville says medicare pays for tying fallopian tubes and performing vasectomies to prevent pregnancies, and pays for abortions, so it should also pay for in-vitro fertilization. Also several European countries do so.
A spokesperson for the health minister, Philippe Couillard, argues that in-vitro is expensive and has a low success rate. She added that in-vitro is risky for the mother and there is a higher risk the baby will be born prematurely multiplying the chances of birth defects.
Couillard himself argues it would $20 million to $30 million a year to cover in vitro and that money would be taken away from other treatment.
An editorial in the Gazette this morning echoes the minister: “This is too large a burden for the taxpayer to bear. Our medical system is already staggering under the load of life-and-death interventions that we cannot pay for.”
If we do not have the money to pay for cancer treatment in a timely fashion, should we have the money for in vitro?
On the other hand, Julie Snyder, the TV presenter whose partner is Pierre Peladeau, wants all Quebec women to have access to in vitro. “The result would be “more little Quebecers, more little taxpayers.” (Snyder herself is five months pregnant as a result of in vitro.)
What do you think?
Should Quebec use taxpayers’ money to pay for in-vitro fertilization at $10,000 a pop?