Poll Suggests That Cambie Surgery Does Not Represent Public Opinion

For immediate release

Monday, December 2, 2019

A new poll finds that 90% of British Columbians agree that access to healthcare in the province should be based on need rather than ability to pay.

This is the core issue being argued before the Supreme Court of British Columbia in the landmark legal challenge that will enter its final week of arguments today.

Corporate plaintiff Cambie Surgeries Corporation seeks to change the laws that ensure healthcare is more responsive to a person’s health needs than to the size of their chequing account. Striking down these key provisions of the Medicare Protection Act would incentivize publicly enrolled doctors to spend more time with patients who pay to see them over those who come through the public system. This legal challenge would also open up the Canadian health insurance market to U.S. private insurance firms, bringing with them the profit-first ethic that has severely compromised care in the U.S. 

The corporate plaintiffs claim to represent the will of the public. However, a public opinion poll surveying 800 British Columbians conducted by Research Co. clearly shows that this could not be further from the truth.

When asked, 4 in 5 British Columbians said they believed an increase in for-profit private-pay health care services would only help the wealthiest British Columbians - those who can pay to access health services faster.

This is supported by the overwhelming evidence presented throughout the trial, including cases such as Australia where those with private insurance are treated faster in public hospitals than patients covered under the public health care system (42 day wait for public patients v. 20 days for private patients for elective surgeries). This is despite laws that say public and private patients are to be treated equally.

If this Charter challenge were to succeed, it would fundamentally change the way we access health care. However, the poll found that the majority (71%) of British Columbians were not aware of the trial and its possible impact.

The BC Health Coalition and Canadian Doctors for Medicare, along with two doctors and two patients, are Intervenors in this case, representing the average British Columbian who relies on our health care system without worry of financial hardship. Their closing arguments will take place on December 5 at 10 am.

 

Find the full poll results click here.

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CONTACT

Ayendri Riddell

Campaigner, BC Health Coalition

Phone:  604-787-6560

Email:   ayendri@bchealthcoalition.ca

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Public Health Care Defenders Gather for Final Arguments of Cambie Surgeries Trial

For immediate release

(Unceded Coast Salish Territories - Vancouver, BC) On Monday, November 18th, final arguments began in the Charter challenge that put public health care on trial.

The legal attack launched by one of the largest for-profit clinics in Canada seeks to invalidate key protections in the BC Medicare Protection Act which prohibit physician extra billing and duplicate private insurance for medically necessary procedures.This case is the most serious threat that the public health care system has ever faced. It seeks to erase from our laws the fundamental concept of care based on need, not ability to pay. 

“We joined this court case because we believe in defending a public health care system where everyone is covered, everyone is treated equally, and no one goes broke paying for their care,” said Edith MacHattie, a representative of the Coalition Intervenors, which includes the BC Health Coalition and Canadian Doctors for Medicare.

Brian Day and his lawyers have argued that it's okay to profit off people's illnesses. We disagree. All that this case has proven is that a private for-profit system would improve access for the healthiest and wealthiest while creating longer wait times for everybody else. Privatized for-profit health care means that you'll pay more, get less and be worse off.“ continued MacHattie to a group of community members gathered outside the courthouse

Contrary to CEO Day's claims, this case is not about protecting patients' rights or solving the issue of wait times. Cambie Surgeries has not proven that the laws protecting public health care cause lengthy wait times or harm patients’ access to care. Instead, the evidence has shown that public solutions are the best cure for the problem of wait times, and allowing a private tier of health care would worsen wait times for all but the wealthy, and drain resources from the public system.

In Australia, private insurance was encouraged with the goal of reducing wait times, but in fact what occurred is that wait times in the public sector did not improve; in areas where private health care was most used, wait times in the public system went up. [Defendant’s Closing Submissions, p. 375-376]

Expansion of private insurance and care would disproportionately impact patients who are not considered “profitable” in the private system. Glyn Townsend, standing in front of a banner that read “Save Our Medicare”, spoke about the negative impact of a two-tier healthcare system on those with complex health issues and chronic illnesses.

Glyn, who has required health care to monitor and treat his HIV for almost 30 years - has been able to access care because Canada’s health care is publicly funded. If Glyn had been forced to pay for his necessary hospital visits, which have included admission for chicken pox and one for severe shingles, he might have been forced to choose between his health and bankruptcy.


The final arguments of the controversial case will be heard over the next 3 weeks. 


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CONTACT
Ayendri Riddell

Campaigner, BC Health Coalition
Phone:  604-787-6560

Email:   ayendri@bchealthcoalition.ca

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Counsel for intervenors in Cambie Case to present opening arguments, demonstrate damaging impact of two-tier health care for Canadians

Media Advisory - Lawyers for the intervenor groups will present their opening arguments this morning (Wednesday, September 14) regarding the Cambie lawsuit at the BC Supreme Court. Counsel for the intervenors will argue the legal changes proposed by Cambie Surgical Corporation will make health care less accessible and more expensive for most people.

 

The intervenor group includes two patients, two doctors, Canadian Doctors for Medicare, and the BC Health Coalition. The patients in the intervenor group --  one living with Limb-Girdle Muscular Dystrophy and other with AIDS -- represent those who stand to lose the most in this case. They are economically vulnerable people who rely on a high quality public health care system to provide life-sustaining care.

 

In addition, the physician members of the intervenor group are concerned that if the lawsuit successfully overturns the principle of Canadian health care - that care be based on need, not ability to pay- their patients’ health will suffer.

 

Dr. Vanessa Brcic, Edith MacHattie, and Adam Lynes-Ford will be available to news media for interviews at the Courthouse (Hornby/Nelson) from 8:30 AM forward.

 

 

Case information

We have compiled details about the case and participants are available online for quick access.

 

Bookmark:www.savemedicare.ca/the_case

Media contacts

Adam Lynes-Ford

Campaigner, BC Health Coalition

Phone:  604-787-6560

Email:   adam@bchealthcoalition.ca

 

Mary-Margaret Jones

Communications, Canadian Doctors for Medicare

Phone:   416-351-3300 | 416-909-5911

Email:   jones@canadiandoctorsformedicare.ca

 

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Lawsuit against Canadian health care goes to trial September 6

MEDIA ADVISORY

Lawsuit against Canadian health care goes to trial September 6
If successful, many Canadians would not be able to afford health care, wait lists for treatment would grow

The lawsuit against Canadian medicare begins September 6 at the BC Supreme Court.
The plaintiffs -- led by Dr. Brian Day, co-owner of the private, for-profit Cambie Corporation -- are seeking changes to Canada’s health care system that:

Would mean doctors could charge patients unlimited amounts for all procedures and services - from routine check-ups to hip surgeries.
Would create an American-style system with parallel private care and insurance (putting private insurance companies in the position to deny patients health care coverage for basic services like visits to the emergency room or cancer treatment).
If the lawsuit is successful, research shows the new system would mean many Canadians would not be able to afford health care and wait lists for treatment would grow.

BCHC and Canadian Doctors for Medicare are intervenors in the case. We will bring key evidence before the courts in defence of Canadians' access to health care based on need, not ability to pay.

It is anticipated the trial will last at least 24 weeks.


Details and contact information for news media:

Case information
Details about the case and participants are available online for quick access:

Bookmark: www.savemedicare.ca/
Media contacts

Adam Lynes-Ford
Campaigner, BC Health Coalition
Phone:  604-787-6560
Email:   adam@bchealthcoalition.ca

Mary-Margaret Jones
Communications, Canadian Doctors for Medicare
Phone:   416-351-3300 | 416-909-5911
Email:   jones@canadiandoctorsformedicare.ca

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Health advocates welcome federal intervention in Cambie Case

VANCOUVER – Dr. Brian Day’s campaign to dismantle Canadian public health care was dealt a significant blow today as counsel for the Attorney General of Canada presented their intention to intervene in Cambie Surgical Centre et al. v. Medical Services Commission et al (Cambie Case) in BC Supreme Court.

The Cambie Case is a Charter challenge being led by Dr. Brian Day, a Vancouver-based for-profit clinic owner, asking the Court to rule that four sections of BC’s Medicare Protection Act violate the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. According to their submission today in court, the Attorney General of Canada intends to intervene as a party in the case so they can appear and participate on constitutional questions raised by the Plaintiffs.

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Contracts for private clinics risky, expensive, ineffective

VANCOUVER – Patient advocates are concerned that the BC Ministry of Health’s plans to increase contracts with for-profit clinics is not an effective solution to surgical wait times. They are urging the province to scrap contract plans and focus instead on taking advantage of unused public Operating Room time.

Minister of Health Terry Lake announced yesterday that the BC government will be investing 10 million dollars to temporarily increase surgical capacity, with some of this money going to fund contracts with private for-profit clinics.

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"Medicare trial" interveners call on BC government to protect patients

VICTORIA - The BC Health Coalition and Canadian Doctors for Medicare welcome the possible resolution of a charter challenge to public health care law launched by for-profit clinic owner Dr. Brian Day.

"We are pleased that Day seems to be finally recognizing the need to abandon a law suit that never had any merit, and was no more than a stalling tactic that has allowed him to flout the basic rules of medicare, rules that virtually all other Canadian doctors respect and comply with," says Rick Turner, BC Health Coalition co-chair. "The case has cost far too much time and taxpayer money already."

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Patient-doctor-public alliance launches their case to save Canadian health care

VANCOUVER - Today a group of patients, doctors and health care advocates won the right to present expert evidence defending Canadian health care in the BC Supreme Court case against clinic owner Brian Day. This court battle will determine the future of Canadian public health care.

“Brian Day’s plan to bring US-style health care to Canada would be disastrous for Canadians,” explains Dr. Rupinder Brar of Canadian Doctors for Medicare. “If Dr. Day wins, physicians will be allowed to charge patients any amount they like for services, and patients who can pay will get faster care than the rest of us. A win for Dr. Day will mean skyrocketing costs and longer wait times in the public health system as it loses doctors to a parallel private system”.

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