Health policy expert testifies in defence of public health care in Cambie case

July 11, 2019

The BC Health Coalition is an intervenor in the Dr. Brian Day and Cambie Surgeries court case. Following is a recap of what they have been up to, both inside and outside the courtroom.

SOHC is a member of the BCHC and we are following this case closely.


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1. Health policy expert testifies in defence of public health care in Cambie case

Public health expert Dr. David Himmelstein, M.D. took the stand in the Cambie case to offer a comparative analysis of the US and Canadian health care systems.  Dr. Himmelstein, the second expert witness brought by our intervenor group, is a well-respected health policy professor at City University of New York School of Public Health and lecturer in medicine at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Himmelstein has studied the impacts of for-profit healthcare and private insurance in the U.S. for decades.

Dr. Himmelstein’s evidence went to the heart of Cambie Surgeries’ central claims, and refuted the deceptions relied on by Cambie in an attempt to prove their case. He  testified to the overall societal costs to health care if Cambie Surgeries’ legal attack against the public health care system were to be successful. Dr. Himmelstein gave evidence on the dangers of introducing private insurance into single-payer health care systems such as Canada’s, and the risks of allowing for-profit healthcare organizations to operate.

2. BC Health Coalition experts debunk myth that private clinics and for-profit health care decrease wait times Read more »

Study in the South Okanagan Similkameen

June 24, 2019
We need your help with a study that collects information on the health and well-being needs of men in the South Okanagan Similkameen. The Principal Investigator is Nelly Oelke, Assistant Professor, School of Nursing, UBCO.
Your views will be used to build a picture of men’s health needs and can help to improve services for men in your community.
There will be a one hour interview in a confidential space in your community by phone.
You will receive a $25 honorarium for your time.

Praise for Princeton Doctors and Hospital

June 20, 2019

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Letter to the editor

June 20, 2019


There once was a time, not too long ago, that this town only had two doctors. There was not enough medical staff to keep the emergency department of our hospital operational 24 hours a day.

Fortunately, that has changed, due to the actions of some dedicated community members working with Interior Health to implement a recruitment plan to attract more doctors to practice in Princeton.

We, the residents of Princeton and the surrounding area, have to be thankful and proud that we now have five doctors and excellent hospital service.

I recently spent three weeks in our hospital requiring extensive care for a very serious infection. I was most impressed with the care I received, knowing that there was always a doctor on duty or on call. Even the food was wonderful – never the same meal twice.

The compassion and friendliness of all the nurses and support staff was the absolute best and was certainly a great help in keeping up my morale.

I will be forever thankful to you all.

Chris Ross

Two Hearts and pulse

Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare – Recommendations

June 12, 2019

news release June 12 2019 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


BC Health Coalition urges all parties to adopt the Advisory Committee’s recommendations

Vancouver ­– The BC Health Coalition is celebrating the Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare’s recommendation to create a universal public pharmacare program. 

“We’re pleased and unsurprised that the Advisory Council has recommended a system that ensures all Canadians get the healthcare coverage that they need,” says Adrienne Yeung, BC Health Coalition co-chair. “This report further confirms the findings of previous reports and what people in our communities already know which is that people shouldn’t have to choose between medication and other necessities.”

The Advisory Council’s recommendations included the creation of a new drug agency as well as an opt-in period for the provinces. The BCHC has advocated for a system that is publicly provided and comprehensive in medications offered. National universal pharmacare will provide the ability to negotiate better prices on common medications and improve public safety through better prescribing. 

“As Dr. Hoskins said, people are already bearing the costs of these medications,” says Yeung. “We will be looking for all federal political parties to include a national universal pharmacare plan in their platforms as well as the timeline for implementation. Canadians can’t wait any longer.”

The BC Health Coalition is a democratic, inclusive, and consensus-based community of individuals and organizations that advocate for evidence-based improvements to the public health care system, stimulate public education on health care issues, and drive positive change to the health care system through campaigns across the province.

For more information contact: phone: 604.349.9079 | email: |

The Advisory Committee’s final report: Read more »

Don’t buy pharma’s lies about a universal pharmacare program

May 9, 2019


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Times Colonist
MAY 9, 2019 12:53 AM

As universal pharmacare gets closer to reality for Canada, drug companies are ramping up their false rhetoric. They say a universal, public pharmacare plan would result in worse access to medicines, higher costs and less innovation in Canada. Don’t believe them.

Canada is the only high-income country with a universal, public health-care system that does not include universal, public coverage of prescription drugs. Instead, we have an incomplete patchwork of private and public drug-insurance plans financed and managed separately from our medicare system. That is insane.

Contrary to pharma’s claims, our private-public drug-insurance system performs worse than universal, public pharmacare systems in terms of access, costs and innovation. Here’s why:

The incomplete nature of our patchwork of drug plans leaves about one in five Canadians uninsured. As a result, about one in 10 Canadians skips prescriptions simply because of the out-of-pocket costs.
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Each year, nearly 400,000 Canadians use additional medical and hospital services — services we all pay for — because they skipped prescriptions owing to out-of-pocket costs. More than 300 Canadians die prematurely each year as a result.

That alone should make universal pharmacare a national priority — an emergency.

But there are even more problems with our private-public drug-insurance system. For example, our heavy reliance on work-related private drug plans places strains on Canadian businesses. Read more »

Strategy ‘dramatically exceeds’ target for more MRI exams in B.C.: minister

May 3, 2019
Health Minister Adrian Dix says two private MRI outpatient clinics were purchased by Fraser Health as part of the strategy. (File photo)

Health Minister Adrian Dix says two private MRI outpatient clinics were purchased by Fraser Health as part of the strategy. (File photo)

Almost 44,000 more specialized diagnostic exams have been completed across British Columbia in the first year of a new health care strategy and Health Minister Adrian Dix says that amounts to an “extraordinary achievement.”

The B.C. Surgical and Diagnostic Imaging Strategy includes a provision to operate magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, machines around the clock, with more than 233,000 exams done in the first year of the initiative.
When compared with the year before, Dix says their strategy “dramatically exceeded” the initial target of 37,000 scans.
MRI scans are vital to the diagnosis of soft tissue damage such as brain tumours, strokes or dementia and past wait times have extended a year or more.
While the minister didn’t have figures on how this has reduced the delays, preliminary data from Northern Health shows certain wait times dropped to 29 days from 57.
Dix says two private MRI outpatient clinics were purchased by Fraser Health as part of the strategy and the model could be applied to efforts to cut other health care wait times.
At the start of this year, 10 of B.C.’s 33 MRI machines were running around the clock, compared to one in August 2017, while 17 were running more than 19 hours a day, scanning patients at all hours of the day and night.

Read more »

Study: Primary Care Doctors Increase Life Expectancy, But Does Anyone Care?

April 14, 2019

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Robert Pearl, M.D.



In a shocking development that could transform the medical profession, the International Journal of Health Services published the findings of a study titled, “Primary care, specialty care, and life chances.”

Using multiple regression analysis, the researchers concluded that “primary care is by far the most significant variable related to better health status,” correlating with lower mortality, fewer deaths from heart disease and cancer, and a host of other beneficial health outcomes. By contrast, and perhaps equally deserving of shock-value, the researchers determined “the number of specialty physicians [i.e., surgeons, cardiologists, orthopedists, etc.] is positively and significantly related to total mortality, deaths due to heart diseases and cancer, shorter life expectancy,” along with a host of other worrisome health outcomes.

What might these findings mean for the future of medical care?

“From a policy perspective, a likely implication is to reorient the medical profession from its current expensive, clinically based, treatment-focused practice to a more cost-effective, prevention-oriented primary care system,” according the study’s research abstract, which was published July 1, 1994.

That’s correct, the study was published 25 years ago. Read more »


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SOHC Discussion Paper

Developing an Improved and Sustainable Health Care Model for Princeton, B.C
Support Our Health Care has released a discussion paper in order to get feedback from the community, politicians and professionals about the state of local healthcare and what the long term solutions should be.
Download PDF Here