Public Health Care on Trial Video Series

We're excited to share the Public Health Care on Trial video series, with experts David U. Himmelstein M.D., Steffie Woolhandler, M.D and Andrew Longhurst, MA explaining the potential implications of the Cambie Surgical Trial, the most serious threat that our Public Health Care system has ever faced.

The video series consists of four talks:

You can watch the videos below. Click here to download the slides.

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Final Days Are Finally Here

The final 3 days of arguments in the Cambie Surgeries Case resumed on Tuesday, February 25 following an unforeseen court delay, and ended February 28, 2020. The court’s decision is expected to take at least several months before it is released. 

During November and December, public health care supporters across the country came together to defend an equitable and accessible health care system from those who would put profits over patients. Supporters volunteered to cover 31 court watching shifts, 228 people wrote letters to their editor and hundreds more used social media to fact check Brian Day.

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Update - the court will resume in the new year

We heard at the end of last week that the last 3 days of closing statements, including the closing statements from our lawyer, will be rescheduled for sometime in the new year. We were hoping the closing arguments would be over before the end of 2019. However, as seems to be the case throughout this years-long trial, nothing is smooth going and will have to wait a bit longer for the end, and the judgement. We will keep you informed, once we know the new dates. Thank you all for your support, and Happy Holidays. Until 2020!


Court will not be in session the rest of this week

A note came from the court this morning that Justice Steeves is unable to attend court for the remainder of the week. The remaining closing arguments will be rescheduled. We will keep everyone posted once we know more. Thank you for all your support, and to everyone who has been coming to the courthouse and sharing our emails and social media posts. 


Spread the word: Poll Suggests Cambie Surgery does not Represent Public Opinion

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

This ability to ensure healthcare is more responsive to a person’s medical needs than to the size of their chequing account, is being attacked in the constitutional challenge that will enter its final week of arguments today.

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

Let’s make it clear that the corporate plaintiffs don’t represent the public interest. Post these social media graphics with the hashtags #CambieCase #NotToDay to let your networks know that there's broad support for public health care.

Health care should be based on need not ability to pay   Most people support public health care   For profit care would mostly help the wealthiest 

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Cambie Case Week 2 Update

This week, lawyers for the Attorney General of BC (AGBC) and the Attorney General of Canada (AGC) began their closing arguments in defense of public health care.

Interesting points from the week include:

  • The defense emphasized local and international evidence that a private tier drains resources from the public system and adds pressure on the public system 
    • In Australia, 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 the same.
    • “testimony [from patients] included evidence of incidents in which patients who had paid for private treatment at Cambie experienced complications and had to be treated in the public system at public expense.”
  • The AGC and AGBC argued that the legal changes would make it possible for dual practicing doctors to subsidize their corporate profits with public dollars and demonstrated the significant financial motivations behind the corporate plaintiffs claim; 
    • The AGC said that “[for] the corporate plaintiffs the only real benefit of striking the [challenged legislation] is that they will increase their profits.” 
    • The AGBC cited Dr. Day's personal compensation from Cambie Surgical which ranges from approximately 1.14 million to 2.218 million per year. 
    • The AGBC also noted that “the majority of the plaintiffs' physician witnesses are affiliated with the corporate plaintiffs, either as shareholders or physicians with privileges at Cambie and SRC and receive in most instances significant financial remuneration.”

Next week, the AGC will finish their submissions and the intervenors (including our lawyers) will have their moment to bring their arguments in front of the judge. Joe Arvay, on behalf of our lawyers, will take the stand on Thursday December 5th at 10am  defending the right for everyone to receive the care they need, based on need, not on their ability to pay.  The final day of this decade-long trial will be next Friday December 6th.

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Help Us Debunk Day

With the Cambie Case getting so much coverage in recent weeks we need your help to counter the misinformation that is being spread. 

With the support of right wing think tank the Canadian Constitution Foundation (CCF) and allied columnists, CEO Brian Day has staged a dramatic PR campaign that has consistently distorted the intention and impact of the case. With the Cambie trial drawing to a close, it is now more important than ever to set the record straight and show our support for Universal Public Health Care.

Will you write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper and help us debunk Day? It is important for the public to understand what is at stake and letters from individuals are a powerful tool in raising public awareness.

Some media coverage has been so inaccurate that it prompted a rare public rebuke from the Chief Justice of British Columbia who said, in reference to an article written by a Vancouver Sun columnist, that “[it] inaccurately and unfairly misconstrues the procedural history and nature of the Cambie Surgeries trial, a complex constitutional case of considerable significance to Canadians and Canadian society.” 

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Update from the first week of closing arguments

It’s hard to believe Cambie Corporation’s years long legal battle against public health care is finishing up.

This week, as the closing arguments started, we received incredible support both online and at the courthouse. Thank you to those of you who came to the press conference, took notes in court, checked in online, donated to fund our lawyers, commented and shared on social media and have been in this fight with us all the way along. We would not be here without you.

The plaintiffs were the first group able to present their arguments to the judge, one last time. All week we heard a rehash of Cambie Corp’s long winded testimony. Their legal team even tried to submit new evidence, although that isn’t allowed during the final weeks of court. Throughout, the lawyers continue to say this case is about solving wait times for patients, even though we know the laws they are trying to change relate, not to patient access to faster care, but to doctor profits. 

By the end of the week, they: 

  • Had not shown in their written or verbal submissions that the legislation they’re challenging causes wait times;
  • Wanted it both ways in their argument: they said that for 20 years private surgical and diagnostic clinics have been operating in B.C. without harming the public health care system, and yet, over that exact period, wait times in the province have only gotten worse.
  • Had argued that the legislation does actually work. It does stop more private clinics from operating. They said there’s not enough doctors willing to work outside the public system; they need to be subsidized by the public system in order to be profitable in the private system.
  • Had stated in their written submissions that they don’t have to prove, nor does it matter if they do (nor do they ever prove), that wait times will be reduced with more two-tier health care.

The plaintiff's closing arguments reminded us that this case is about allowing publicly paid doctors to charge whatever they want in private clinics - a change that could incentivize their spending more time in the private tier, while still being subsidized by the public system. It’s also about allowing American-style insurance companies to enter the Canadian market so that more people choose private care - expanding the private clinic’s clientele.

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Closing Arguments start - Plaintiffs up first

November 18th was the first day of the Closing Arguments. There was a lot of media interest as this decade-long case nears its conclusion. At our press conference in front of the Law Courts, we highlighted the dangers this case presents to our health care system, and that the legislation Cambie is trying to overturn is what ensures everyone in BC gets care based on need, not on whether they can afford to pay out of pocket.

You can see our press release HERE, listen to Dr. Rupi Brar from Canadian Doctors for Medicare on CBC's the Current, or hear a quick summary of the first day from BC Health Coalition Co-Chair, Edith MacHattie. Dr Colleen Flood also gave an excellent interview about the case on CBC's Power and Politics.

We are posting on Facebook and Twitter throughout the three weeks of closing arguments, so you can check there if you want to keep a closer eye on what's happening. In addition watch these pages to learn about actions you can take to support the case and spread the word that Day's arguments that his expanded two-tier health care won't harm our public system, are false.


Take Notes to Support the Cambie Case

We're in the final sprint after a decade-long legal marathon against Brian Day's challenge to our public health care. Let’s pack the courts and show our support for a public health care system for everyone

Join us for a press conference at the corner of Nelson and Howe starting at 9 am on November 18th, then inside the court in Room 43 to watch the first day of Closing Statements.

We are also looking for volunteers to take notes on each day from November 18 to December 6. Court is in session every weekday from 10 AM-12 PM and 2 PM-4 PM. Click here to sign up if you can provide this valuable support.

Not able to make it to Vancouver? Follow where we'll frequently post updates and ways to support.

It's been three years since our lawyers made their opening statements committing:

"to advocate for all of those British Columbians who rely on the public system, and whose right to equitable access to health care without regard to financial means or ability to pay - the very object of the legislation being attacked – would be undermined if the plaintiffs were to succeed."

Together we've stood up to defend our public health care system. Let's finish the job!