The biggest threat Canadian public health care has ever faced

May 10, 2014

The following is a letter from the BC Health Coalition:

“On Monday we’re going to court to launch our case for Canadian public health care, aiming to introduce some very important evidence about the devastating consequences of Brian Day’s attack on Medicare.

For-profit clinic owner Brian Day has invoked the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms to attack the very social program that best embodies the principles of fairness and equity the Charter stands for. Our evidence will prove that Brian Day’s plan to bring US-style care to Canada will harm patients’ health, disrupt medical practices, drive costs up, and weaken the Canadian economy.

This challenge poses a huge threat, and is one of the most significant constitutional challenges in Canadian history. If Dr. Day wins, the public health care system that Canadians rely on – and overwhelmingly support – will be effectively dismantled right across the country.

But here’s the thing

– evidence shows that the kind of system Dr. Day is seeking would lead to longer wait times for care and poorer health for Canadians. On top of that, there is NO evidence that private, for-profit care results in better care – not anywhere in the world.

While we applaud the provincial government’s excellent efforts to defend Medicare, we believe that there are important gaps in that defence. That’s why this week, the BC Health Coalition, along with Canadian Doctors for Medicare, two doctors and two patients, are applying to present evidence in the trial.

Our group already has intervener status in the challenge, which means we’re participating directly in the case. On Monday we are applying to present evidence from our highly qualified experts, including:
The consequences of opening the door to U.S. health conglomerates;
The adverse impacts privatization will have on patients, but also on the health care provider who are committed to remaining in the public system;
What happened in Quebec when it opened its door to private hospitals;
What the loss of Medicare would mean to Canadian competitiveness;
How NAFTA prevents the door to privatization ever being closed, once it is opened.
Dr. Day’s true motives are clear. A provincial audit of Day’s Cambie Surgery Centre and the associated Specialist Referral Clinic found that patients were unlawfully extra-billed $491,654 in just 30 days. In one case, a Cambie patient was billed $7,215.00 for services that would only have cost $1,288.04 in BC’s public health care system. Auditors also found over $66,000 in overlapping claims – evidence that suggests double dipping for the same services.

Charging patients nearly 6 times the actual cost of a procedure is not about human rights, and it’s not about improving care. It’s about profit.

We need to make sure this dangerous legal challenge is defeated so that we can get on with the work of improving a system that cares for all of us. Our application to present evidence to this case is an important step.

We’ll let you know as soon as we receive the Judge’s decision. In the meantime, make sure you connect with us on Facebook to get all the updates as the trial approaches.

With many thanks for your crucial support,

Rachel Tutte & Rick Turner
BC Health Coalition co-chairs”

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