EDITORIAL: Private Health Care: A Tale of Two Provinces

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Two provinces are grappling with long hospital treatment delays and backlogs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Both use the private sector, albeit in different ways.

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In Ontario, Prime Minister Doug Ford’s Conservative government has announced it will allow private clinics to offer some surgeries and diagnostic treatments.

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In British Columbia, Prime Minister David Eby’s NDP government plans to send up to 4,800 patients to the United States over the next two years to clear a cancer treatment backlog. The province has one of the longest wait times for radiation treatment in the country. Radiation therapy that costs $3,854 in British Columbia costs $12,277 in Bellingham, Washington. The country also covers travel and accommodation costs.

In Ontario, the NDP is outraged by the decision to allow some private clinics to operate.

In British Columbia, the outrage is not so much about privatization as it is about the inconvenience to patients who have to put their lives on hold to travel to the US for treatment.

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Ford’s government has been criticized for allowing entrepreneurial healthcare providers to operate businesses to provide patients with the treatment they need close to where they live.

The sustainable model is the one proposed by the Ford government. As long as the care is covered by a health card rather than a credit card – and the services are provided to a standard set by the province – allowing Canadian companies to benefit from Canadian taxpayers’ money is smarter and better than giving that money to the USA to remit US


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For decades, governments have been prevented from building private facilities such as those housed in BC patients on the false assumption that our public health system is superior to the US private one. The truth is that while the public health system is commendable in theory, as a payer it cannot provide the revenue and business model needed to be sustainable.

Beverley McLachlin, Canada’s Chief Justice, stated in 2005, “Access to a waiting list is not access to health care.”

We can either have Canadian companies do the healthcare in Canada, or we can export our patients to the huge private healthcare system in the US, which we turn to whenever our system stops working.

It shouldn’t be a difficult decision.

https://torontosun.com/opinion/editorials/editorial-private-health-delivery-a-tale-of-two-provinces EDITORIAL: Private Health Care: A Tale of Two Provinces


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