On behalf of the Campbell River, Courtenay & District Labour Council, I am writing to commend our B.C. government’s recent announcement to protect patient and public funds from unlawful billing in private, for-profit clinics. The province’s plan to clean up unlawful private billing, along with the new Surgical and Diagnostic Imaging strategy to drive down wait times the public system, will mean patients will get faster access to care without the burden of steep private fees.
Private clinic owner Brian Day’s court case to undo Canada’s public health care system resumes on Monday, April 9th. If Brian Day’s lawsuit succeeds, we will have U.S.-style health care for Canada – where people go bankrupt, lose their homes and life savings, or worse, because they can’t afford treatment when they need it.
BC has the second highest rate of unlawful medical billing in the country and for years the province refused to step in to protect patients. A 2017 report by the Ontario Health Coalition shows that as many as 30 of BC’s 34 private medical and diagnostic clinics are charging patients unlawful private fees for medically-necessary care that is supposed to be provided with no direct fee to patients. These private fees are often up to five times more than those in the public system. BC allowed surgical and diagnostic wait lists to grow while enabling a market for private, for-profit clinics who charge patients inflated, unlawful private fees to grow.
The CRCDLC strongly supports public health care and the BC government’s crackdown on private clinics. Our health care is a value we remain committed to as Canadians to ensure everyone has access to quality health care when they need it.