Private Health Care Case Rages in B.C. Supreme Court
The British Columbia's Supreme Court is set to decide on an epic court battle over a private health care case that dates back nine years ago and revolves around Dr. Brian Day's Cambie Surgery Centre, which charges patients for services. Any ruling in the said case could set a precedent for the rest of the country, thus the clamor to disrupt legal proceedings, with the Health Ministry contending that the physician's actions are illegal and people fearing that private pay options would create a health services class system.
The issues of the case at hand are whether or not to allow private insurers in B.C. to pay for services available under the public health system and whether or not doctors can charge privately for services. Currently, doctors in B.C. can legally charge for services if they are elective services and the doctor has opted out of the public health billing system, the CBC News reported. But an audit last 2012 have shown half-million dollars' worth of illegal billing as the Centre charged both patients and province which led to the filing of the private health care case.
But not everyone supports the case such as Patrick McGeer who took the witness stand and claimed the Canadian's health care system as the worst in the world and wants the province to settle the case and let unlimited for-pay services in. He blames the chronic wait lists on hospital budget restrictions and believes that introducing a two-level system, as is the private health care case, would solve everything. On the other hand, many fear the case would water down the public system and create a health service class system.
On the contrary, Jim Stanford sees public health care as a major Canadian asset that attracts business and ensures healthier people. "There is no benefit whatsoever to dismantling a universal and relatively efficient system such as Canada has," he said. He believes that the success of the private health care case would only benefit private insurers and doctors. Further, he notes that private health care providers only pick marketing profitable services and leave less profitable ones like emergency care to the public system.
However, even at present, the health care system already has a few tiers. If the court decides to rule on the private health care case, then officials and providers alike must strictly implement the system so as not to allow a division between the minority and majority. It is very rare to have a case wherein the country allows for a public health system and as it is, health must be made accessible to everyone and not render it a business opportunity for some.