Below is a fine editorial from the Victoria Times-Colonist on the case against moving day surgeries to private clinics in BC. Points include the potential growth of costs due to the profit margin, the lowering of wages by the operators for skilled staff (eg. nurses), and the obvious ….the violation of the Canada Health Act.
Two questions and some history. First, is this creeping privatization something BCers will be willing to fight tooth and nail, or have we been anaesthetized by years of propaganda telling us that with the aging population and budget pressures, we have no choice but to “innovate”? Second, is our provincial government capable of being honest about it?
The T-C\s take is linked here:
The history, recent and longer term. The recent history is this: Brian Day, longtime advocate of privatization, was recently defeated as candidate for president of the BMA. It took a recount and a revote, during which the doctors who vote in the president woke up at least a little to prevent his victory, and turned up to vote in less pathetic numbers on the redo.
Later, Shane Woodford of CKNW told the story of a clinic in New Westminster which told him he could see a doctor live and in person for a fee of about $170 , or he could video-conference with the doctor for no fee. I have heard nothing yet about legal measures being considered by the province against this practice, but it’s new. The province does have an obligation to uphold the Canada Health Act, and is still in proceedings versus Brian Day, mentioned above.
Longer term history. Gordon Campbell, back when George Abbott was Heath Minister, ran a wide public consultation called “Conversations on Health”. I participated in the Victoria edition. It was well attended, and we were encouraged to think about innovative ways to deliver health care more efficiently. Lots of good ideas were presented, and lots of knowledge shared about how nutrition and fitness promotion saved health care dollars.
But that’s not the conversation government wanted us to have. The talk Campbell had in mind was about the mix of private delivery. Increasing the mix of private delivery got a big fat no from the public. It’s said that George Abbott went back and told Campbell this , and Campbell was not pleased by the message.
Now it’s 8 years or so later, and I’m thinking of a man I met at that little conference named Henry McCandless, who was very interested in accountability. His definition of accountability was in the answer to 2 questions… Who pays? Who benefits?
It’s been amply demonstrated that in BCLiberal land, the private sector always benefits, and we always pay. Do enough of us care ? Has the Fraser Institute shut down our capacity to think critically enough to defend public health care? We’ll see.