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Private health care gaining ground across Canada

The National Post reports that, “The idea of harnessing the free market to make the still-troubled (public health care) system run more efficiently is picking up steam (in Canada).”

“A report issued late last year by the (Ontario) Health Coalition said it found more than 120 for-profit diagnostic and surgical clinics across the country, and 89 possible violations of the federal legislation that governs the medicare system.”

Across Canada:

“The (little-known private) CareImaging (Cancer Diagnostics Centre) LP clinic revealed this week it is expanding its unique, Mississauga, Ont.-based PET scan service to Windsor.”

“Quebec, already the unofficial heartland of private medicine, is expected to soon implement Bill 33, a law that would pave the way for more private surgical clinics, carrying out procedures funded by taxpayers.”

“Mike Murphy, New Brunswick’s Health Minister, has said he will consider similar use of private clinics to deliver publicly financed operations and diagnostic tests.”

The Calgary Herald reports that, “Provital Health and Wellness will open in August, offering Calgarians willing to foot a $3,000 yearly bill access to a team of health-care providers — from doctors to nutritionists–who will develop personalized treatment plans.”

“Provital is one of several private clinics to open in Calgary recently, including the controversial Copeman Healthcare Centre, which also charges clients about $3,000 in annual fees.”

The National Post report continues, “At the same time, British Columbia’s new health minister just spoke out in favour of a separate, private tier of health care.”

“Kevin Falcon, British Columbia’s new Health Minister, believes patients should be able to use their own money to buy expedited health care in the private sector.”

“Private clinics (in British Columbia) are seeking a declaration that legislation preventing patients from paying for expedited care in private clinics is unconstitutional and an infringement of their rights. The clinics plan to argue that the results of the 2005 Chaoulli Supreme Court of Canada case should be applicable in B.C. In that case, the highest court struck down Quebec’s ban on private insurance for medically necessary services. The private clinics in the B.C. case are expected to argue that citizens should be allowed to buy private health insurance to use in private clinics if their operative care is not delivered in a timely matter in the public system.”

Mike McBane of the Canadian Health Coalition says, “There does seem to be a lot of talk about pushing private clinics and private delivery. It is ironic that at a time when the United States is moving toward public health care, governments in Canada seem to want to go the wrong way.”

The National Post articles are at http://www.nationalpost.com/m/story.html?id=1739758&s=Home and http://www.nationalpost.com/story.html?id=1731220.

The Calgary Herald article is at http://www2.canada.com/calgaryherald/iphone/story.html?id=1739105.