The term “medical tourism” may conjure images of clinics in far-flung countries that offer a tempting proposition: world travel and cut-rate surgery. Yet a Quebec clinic hopes that Canadians will instead think of a warm bed, perhaps an invigorating facial scrub at a renowned Quebec City spa and the chance to skip the clogged lines that are the reality in much of the Canadian public medical system. […] That Quebec is at the forefront of private medical care is the result of history and judicial precedent. In 2005, due to the Chaoulli ruling by the Supreme Court on unreasonable wait times, the government allowed for private insurance to cover hip, knee and cataract surgeries. Still, “historically, the divide between public and private health care has been more pronounced, so the for-profit private sector has had to go it alone,” says Antonia Maioni, an associate professor of health and social policy at McGill University. Most private clinics in the province, such as Quebec’s RIMC, only offer non-surgical radiological procedures not covered by the province’s health authority when performed outside a hospital or government-associated clinic.
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