For Immediate Release: VANCOUVER (September 14, 2016) – An intervenor group of patients, doctors and advocates outlined the potential threat to patients posed by the Cambie lawsuit in opening statements to the BC Supreme Court today.
Two patients in the intervenor group, one living with Limb-Girdle Muscular Dystrophy and other living with AIDS, represent those who stand to lose the most in this case - economically vulnerable people who rely on a sound public health care system, counsel for the group told the court.
“If the plaintiffs are successful, the very people the Legislature seeks to protect with the Medicare Protection Act17 – those who either would not qualify for or who could not afford to avail themselves of ‘private options’ – would be harmed,” Alison Latimer, counsel for the intervenors said.
The plaintiffs, led by Dr. Brian Day -- co-owner of the private, for-profit Cambie Surgeries Corporation -- are seeking to strike laws that prevent publicly-enrolled doctors from charging fees in addition to what they are paid by the public system. They are also seeking to enable private insurance companies to sell insurance that duplicates Medicare
“There is no constitutional right to a health care system where physicians can claim entitlement to compensation from the public system while also participating in a private system in which they are incentivized to provide preferential access to care to those who can afford to pay more for it, nor do the principles of fundamental justice require such a health care system," Latimer argued.
The intervenor group will be presenting expert evidence on the impacts of the Chaoulli case in Quebec and the likelihood that if the Cambie lawsuit was successful it would result in a health care system similar to that of the United States.
“Once all the evidence is presented, we expect that it will show that the relief the plaintiffs seek would not reduce wait lists in the public system, and moreover, that there are other and better solutions that are more consistent with the objectives of the Medicare Protection Act – solutions which would not diminish the overall accessibility and quality and efficiency of our public health care system," said Latimer.Read the full text of the intervenor's opening statement here
Campaigner, BC Health Coalition
Communications, Canadian Doctors for Medicare
Phone: 416-351-3300 | 416-909-5911