Cambie Surgeries CEO Brian Day launched this constitutional challenge after he learned his private for-profit surgical
clinics were going to be audited by the BC Government.The audit was triggered by dozens of patients who complained that they had been illegally over-billed at Cambie's clinics. An audit later revealed that Day’s clinics had overcharged patients by almost half a million dollars in just 30 days. Instead of paying back the money his clinics illegally over-billed, Brian Day marshalled a group of private, for-profit clinics and a few of his patients to file a constitutional challenge against key protections in BC's Medicare Protection Act.
The challenged protections of BC’s Medicare Protection Act, found in sections 14, 17 and 18, are designed to “preserve a publicly managed and fiscally sustainable health care system for British Columbia in which access to necessary medical care is based on need and not an individual's ability to pay” by:
Prohibiting doctors who are enrolled in the publicly funded system from:
- billing above the prices negotiated between the government and doctors (extra billing)
- billing both the patient and the public system for the same service (double billing)
- Restricting doctors from having one foot in the publicly funded system and the other in the privately financed system (dual practice);
- Prohibiting the sale of private insurance that duplicates services provided in the public system.
The case will almost certainly advance to the Supreme Court of Canada. The outcome will impact all provinces and territories because the rules the corporate plaintiffs seek to strike down are central to the Canada Health Act and every provincial health care insurance plan.