Medicare Defender Sounds Alarm Over BC Supreme Court Case

Toronto Star
Fri Apr 25 2014
Page: A4
Section: News
Byline: Theresa Boyle Toronto Star
The Toronto doctor who recently grabbed headlines across North America for defending Canada’s health system before an ornery U.S. Senate wants Ontarians to take notice of a legal showdown on the other side of this country that she warns could affect the future of Medicare nationwide.

Dr. Danielle Martin, a founder of Canadian Doctors for Medicare, is sounding the alarm over a B.C. Supreme Court case centred on the question of whether private clinics have the right to extra-bill patients for medical services.

“In my view (it’s) the biggest threat to medicare in this generation, and we need to do everything we can to protect our health system from the damage that its outcome could set in motion,” she plans to tell an audience on Friday in a speech, an advance copy of which was given exclusively to the Star.

The case in question involves former Canadian Medical Association president Dr. Brian Day, who has
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Response from NDP on National Health Accord

The following is an email response from the New Democratic Party of Canada to SOHC’s concerns about the loss of our National Health Accord, received March 28th:

From Thomas Mulcair, Leader of the NDP:
Thank you for taking the time to share your concerns about the Conservatives’ failure to negotiate a new health accord with the provinces and territories.

With the clock running out on the 2004 Health Accord, New Democrats are urging the Harper government to work out a deal to ensure that every Canadian has access to physician and hospital care when they need it—regardless of the where they live, their economic or social status. This was the vision of Tommy Douglas who believed that “health services ought not to have a price-tag on them, and that people should be able to get whatever health services they required irrespective of their individual capacity to pay.”
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Response from Green Party to National Health Accord

The following is a response from the Green Party of Canada to concerns raised by SOHC about the loss of our National Health Accord, received April 3rd.

From Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party:

Thank you for your email concerning the renewal of the 2004 Health Accord.

Poll after poll clearly shows that Canadians place health-care at the top of their list of priorities and concerns. In response, the Harper Conservatives consistently tells us that they will ‘fix’ the health-care system. However, the announced $36 billion cut flies in the face of this claim and will significantly undermine our universal health-care system. In the face of stubbornly long wait times for diagnosis and surgery, over-crowded emergency rooms and severe shortages of family doctors, this administration is performing a grave disservice to all Canadians.

The Green Party fully supports the Canada Health Act (CHA) and all of its principles. We oppose any level of privatized, for-profit health care. The five criteria of the CHA guiding the provincial public health insurance plans, which we believe to be non-negotiable, are:
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Response from Liberals to National Health Accord

The following is the response received from the Liberal Party of Canada to concerns raised by SOHC about the loss of our National Health Accord, received April 24th.

From Hedy Fry, Liberal Health Critic:

Thank you for your email concerning the need for federal leadership in health care and for a renegotiated Health Accord in 2014. Canada’s Medicare system is facing many challenges and it takes real leadership to make the necessary changes to ensure its sustainability and improve the health outcomes of Canadians. When Canada’s Medicare system was established under Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson, it was to cover hospital and physician-based care only. We now know that hospitals are not necessarily the best places to deliver care and physicians are not the only ones who can deliver that care.

The previous Liberal governments, led by Prime Ministers Jean Chretien and Paul Martin, recognized that transformative changes were needed to ensure our system was sustainable and that Canadians received the care they need, when they need it. That is why Prime Minister Chretien met with the Premiers in 2003 to negotiate a Health Accord. That work was continued by Paul Martin in 2004, when the Health Accord was signed.
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By closing the Health Council of Canada, Stephen Harper is abandoning national medicare

By: Michael McBane Published on Wed Apr 17 2013
Health Ministers from across Canada were recently told by the Harper government that it will stop funding the Health Council of Canada and wants it “wound down” in order to save $6 million.
When the Harper government says it is time to wind down the Health Council of Canada, it is saying in effect, it is time to wind down national medicare. Let me explain.

The Health Council of Canada was formed in 2003, following the Romanow Commission on the Future of Health Care in Canada, to provide accountability, oversight, planning and national coordination for our health care system. Its achievements to date include lowering wait times and encouraging innovation in the public health care system to ensure access to a continuum of services, in and out of hospital.

To read the full article go to: The Star

For-profit clinics attack Medicare in court, seek US-style system.

Stock Newsletter article on private clinics’ legal attack
BC Health Coalition & Canadian Doctors for Medicare
March 2014

For-profit clinics attack Medicare in court, seek US-style system

We risk losing Canadian Medicare as we know it.

Right now, there’s a legal attack before the courts that could turn Canada’s Medicare system into a US-style system.

The attack is driven by Dr. Brian Day, owner of the Vancouver-based Cambie Surgery Centre, a for-profit surgical clinic known for unlawfully billing for medically-necessary care.

The case is being called the most significant constitutional challenge in Canadian history. And it’s going to trial in BC Supreme Court in 2014.

This challenge aims to do away with Medicare in Canada by striking down provincial health legislation that limits the for-profit delivery of medically necessary services, claiming that these rules violate the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

What does this mean for me and my family?

If Dr. Day wins this case, we’ll lose the public health care system that we all rely on. Continue reading