Court challenge to public health care could impact all Canadians: report

OTTAWA  – Medicare as we know it is being challenged in the British Columbia Supreme Court. In a report released yesterday Colleen Fuller outlines this most recent and serious attack on public health in Canada.

Fuller, a research associate with the Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) makes clear that “if successful this ruling will impact all Canadians in every province and territory.” Focusing on this most recent court challenge, Fuller gives an overview of for profit provider attempts to create an American-style health care system here in Canada.

A group of plaintiffs led by Brian Day is challenging the provincial Medicare Protection Act (MPA). According to the report, “Day admits that his company, Cambie Surgeries Corporation, is dependent on patients for revenue. But current laws in B.C. protect patients from becoming a source of profit for private investors and clinic owners. Now Day wants the B.C. Supreme Court to agree that doctors and clinics should be able to directly bill patients for medical services, rental of the operating room, and other costs associated with surgery, including nursing and other staff.”

Cambie will argue that for-profit health care will improve wait times. Yet, this CCPA report makes clear that private payment options increase wait times for patients in the public system, provide poorer patient outcomes and increase the overall cost of public health care.

“Canadians do not want American-style for-profit health care,” explains Melissa Newitt from the Canadian Health Coalition. “Access to quality health care is a Canadian value and this CCPA report drives home the importance of standing up for Medicare.”

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