May 20, 2014
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.
Expensive private insurance will become the new norm, like in the United States where it costs the average family $16,000 a year. Most bankruptcies in the US are due to medical bills - we don't want to see a system in Canada where we risk losing our homes or go deep in debt when we get sick or injured.
Public wait times will also become longer, as doctors and nurses are drained from the public system to the for-profit system.
Why it's a national issue affecting everyone in Canada
Even though the case is in the BC Supreme Court, it threatens health care across Canada. Because of the constitutional nature of the case, if Dr. Day wins the challenge, the laws that protect our public health care system will crumble across the country.
We have to make sure Dr. Day is defeated. In contrast to the aims of these for-profit clinics owners, Canadians don't want US-style health care. Poll after poll show that the public favours investment and innovation in public health care to improve the system for everyone, not the expansion of for-profit health care that benefits only a very wealthy elite.
Who's fighting for our public health care system?
The BC Health Coalition and Canadian Doctors for Medicare are interveners in this case. This means that we are participating directly in the litigation, and we'll be standing up for Medicare in court.
But we know that our participation in the case alone can't ensure this legal attack is defeated. It's going to take a huge public outcry to save Canadian Medicare.
It's going to take talking to our governments, our local newspapers, and our family and friends to make very clear: we want a public health care system that works for all Canadians and this legal attack must be defeated.
This is going to be a big challenge, but we know that together we can win this case and ensure that Medicare is here for generations to come.
Contributed - BC Health Coalition & Canadian Doctors for Medicare