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NEWS: Kelowna man having an aneurysm turned away from private clinic due to unpaid bill

CTV reports, “A Kelowna man who suffered a life-threatening brain aneurysm earlier this month says he was denied care at a local medical clinic, all because of an outstanding bill for $50. Aaron Korpaski (says) he got a headache on Feb. 4 that quickly grew into something much worse. …Concerned that he was dying, Korpaski drove straight to the nearby Lakeshore Medical Centre. But the clerk noticed an outstanding charge on his account, and when his debit card rejected the payment he was turned away. …The clinic did offer to call an ambulance, but Korpaski chose not to wait and drove himself to Kelowna General Hospital himself. There, a CAT scan revealed his aneurysm, and emergency neurosurgery saved his live.”

“Dr. David Goldberg, who runs the Lakeshore Medical Centre, acknowledged that some patients are denied care if they have unpaid bills, but insisted that anyone in urgent need is treated. …B.C.’s Ministry of Health told CTV News that private clinics are entitled to their own billing rules, but doctors have an ethical responsibility to treat the ill. They suggested the nature of Korpaski’s issue may be best addressed by the College of Physicians and Surgeons. Korpaski said there’s no chance he failed to make it clear that he was in serious trouble, and is considering filing a formal complaint.”

More private clinics to come under Harper
In December 2011, federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty unilaterally announced a non-negotiable federal funding plan that runs to 2024. Under the Harper government’s plan, transfer payments will be tied to the rate of economic growth, now at about 4 per cent. In January 2012, Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page has said Harper’s funding formula will cost the provinces about $31 billion over the life of the 2014 Canada Health Accord. While $31 billion is a staggering figure, in July 2012 the provincial premiers forecast the cut would be closer to $36 billion. Roy Romanow has stated that as a result of this funding mechanism, our public health care system will grow weaker, we’ll have more privatization in more provinces, more for-profit medical companies will be doing business, more public-private partnerships, and we’ll see a patchwork-quilt series of programs by the provincial governments based on their fiscal capacity.

The Council of Canadians is fighting to defend public health care and to stop the proliferation of private clinics across Canada.

For more, please read:
Rights to Security of Person Only for the 1%
UPDATE: Will health care be the ballot box issue in October 2015?
UPDATE: Council of Federation to meet in Niagara-on-the-Lake, July 24-26