Dr. Profit Goes to Court . . . Finally

Dr. Profit Goes to Court . . . Finally

Postby Oscar » Sat Sep 03, 2016 6:16 pm

Council of Canadians to challenge Dr. Profit's attack on public health care

[ http://canadians.org/media/council-cana ... ealth-care ]

Media Advisory September 2, 2016

WHAT: The Council of Canadians will be both outside and inside a Vancouver court room on Tuesday, September 6 for the start of up to six months of hearings on a lawsuit that has major implications for the future of our public health care system.

Colleen Fuller with Independent Patient Voices Network will be addressing media at a 9:00 a.m. press scrum before the beginning of the hearings.

WHEN: Tuesday, September 6, 9:00 a.m (PDT)

WHERE: B.C. Supreme Court, corner of Nelson and Hornby, Vancouver


WHY: Dr. Brian Day launched his lawsuit in July 2012, claiming that British Columbia’s ban on the purchase of private insurance for medically necessary services already covered by the public system is a violation of Section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Day argues that if you have money, you should have the right to buy your way to the front of the line. Now, after many delays, the case will be heard next week.

“This case puts medicare in Canada on trial. Make no mistake, this attack on medicare isn’t about finding real solutions to public health challenges or making medicare better, it is about greed and opening the door for two-tiered U.S.-style care,” says Michael Butler, Health Campaigner with the Council of Canadians. “Dr. Profit is jeopardizing the universal public health care system everyone in Canada relies on for personal gain.”

While this case is provincial, the outcome will have national implications for Canada's universal, public health care system. -30-

Media contact

For media calls:
Dylan Penner, Media Officer
Cell: (613) 795-8685
Office: (613) 233-4487, ext. 249
E-mail: dpenner@canadians.org

For all other calls:
National Office
Reception: (613) 233-2773
Toll-free: 1-800-387-7177
TTY line 613-233-3744
9:00 to 17:00 hours Eastern Time, Monday to Friday.


= = = = =


Mobilize for public health care at B.C. Supreme Court hearing on Sept. 6

[ http://canadians.org/blog/mobilize-publ ... ing-sept-6 ]

September 2, 2016 - 7:10am

The Council of Canadians is mobilizing both outside and inside a Vancouver court room on Tuesday (September 6) for the start of what could be six-months of hearings on a lawsuit that has major implications for the future of our public health care system.

Dr. Brian Day launched the lawsuit in July 2012, but now, after many delays, the case will be heard. His claim is that British Columbia's ban on the purchase of private insurance for medically necessary services that are already covered by the public system is a violation of Section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. He contends that our public health care system is infringing on a person’s security, right to life and liberty when there is a wait time. Day argues that if you have the money, you should have the right to buy your way to the front of the line.

The National Post reports, "The case could effectively end the equal access that is at the heart of the country’s health-care system, critics warn. ...Defenders of the medicare system not surprisingly reject Day’s talk of rights and injustices, saying evidence shows that freeing up a private system — even if it worked hand-in-hand with the public one as he proposes — would only make it tougher for the poor to access care, and vacuum resources from the public side."

An expert report commissioned by the federal government for this court case agrees with our concerns.

CBC notes, "The report, which was obtained by CBC News, lists many potential negative consequences if there were to be more access to private health care in Canada, including greater income inequality, more people in dire financial straits, and even doctors encouraging longer wait times in the public system in order to nudge patients into the private system."

That article highlights, "John Frank, a Canadian physician who is now chairman of public health research and policy at the University of Edinburgh, argues in his report that more private health care 'would be expected to adversely affect Canadian society as a whole.' He cites research that suggests public resources, including highly trained nurses and doctors, would be siphoned off by the private system. More Canadians would face financial hardship or even — in extreme cases — 'medical bankruptcy' from paying for private care, he writes. Frank even suggests there could be deadly consequences. He says complications from privately funded surgeries often need to be dealt with in the public system because private facilities are generally less equipped to handle complex cases."

The Globe and Mail comments, "The case promises to reignite a debate whose last major legal test occurred in 2005, when the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that a Quebec ban on private health care was unconstitutional." In that case, the Supreme Court ruled 4-3 that Quebec's ban on private health care was unconstitutional under the Quebec Charter of Rights because the public system had failed to guarantee patients access to services in a timely way.

We expressed our concerns at that time too that two-tiered health care heavily burdens the public system.

And we have highlighted that there are public solutions to wait times. The Wait Times Alliance has argued, "Excessive wait times are not the price Canadians must pay for universal health care, despite what some would have us believe. Long wait times are a symptom of poor systemic performance or poor coordination between systems. ...Governments, regional health authorities and hospital administrators along with health care providers should implement strategies to make better use of surgical infrastructure (both physical and health human resources), such as making better use of untapped health infrastructure in community hospitals and rural areas."

The message we will be bringing to the courtroom on Tuesday is that people should have access to medical care based on need, not on ability to pay.

In February 2013, we began blogging on this lawsuit. In September 2014, we participated in coordinated media conferences in Vancouver, Toronto and Halifax to express concern when the BC government was seeking an out of court settlement with Day. We have even encouraged our donors to help pay for the legal representation needed by our allies and interveners in this case, the British Columbia Health Coalition and Canadian Doctors for Medicare.

Now we are asking people to join us outside the B.C. Supreme Court and inside for the hearing to show your support for public health care.

Tuesday, September 6 at 9:00 a.m.
B.C. Supreme Court, Vancouver, Corner of Nelson & Hornby


Brent Patterson's blog
Political Director of the Council of Canadians
[ http://canadians.org/blogs/brent-patterson ]
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Re: Dr. Profit Goes to Court . . . Finally

Postby Oscar » Wed Sep 07, 2016 10:31 am

Public health care on trial this week

[ http://canadians.org/media/public-healt ... trial-week ]

Media Release September 6, 2016

Medicare in Canada is being put on trial starting today as Dr. Brian Day’s lawsuit against the B.C. Ministry of Health begins at the province’s Supreme Court. The outcome will have national implications for Canada’s universal, public health care system.

“Make no mistake, this reckless attack on medicare isn’t about finding real solutions to public health challenges or making medicare better, it is about greed and opening the door for two-tiered U.S.-style care,” says Michael Butler, Health Campaigner with the Council of Canadians. “Dr. Profit is jeopardizing the universal public health care system everyone in Canada relies on for his and his shareholders’ personal gain.”

Dr. Day co-founded Vancouver’s private Cambie Surgery Centre and the Specialist Referral Clinic, which have both violated B.C.’s medical act by engaging in extra and double billing practices. A 2012 audit conducted by the B.C. government found that in just one month, Dr. Day’s clinic had illegally billed patients nearly $500,000, including $66,734 in overlapping claims where Day billed both the patient and the province. This earned him the moniker “Dr. Profit.”

“Brian Day claims his court case is about a patient’s right to pay for health care. But, in fact, we already pay for health care through our taxes. We already have rights guaranteed in law that enable us to obtain hospital and physician services based on need. And that is the law that Brian Day is challenging,” says Colleen Fuller with Independent Patient Voices Network. “Day is fighting for the right of the Cambie Surgery Corporation to double bill for the services they provide. If he wins, we will be paying twice for the same service – once through our taxes and once through the nose.”

Analysis shows that for-profit clinics entice physicians away from public hospitals, leading to increased wait-times. These clinics also “cherry pick” patients with low-risk conditions, leaving the public system to take care of patients with complicated and expensive health needs.

“The cornerstone of our medicare is the principle that health care should be provided according to a patient’s needs, not ability to pay,” says Butler. “Preferential treatment that puts profits over people has no place in Canada.”

The Council of Canadians is holding a demonstration outside the B.C. Supreme Court on September 6 at 9:00 a.m. PDT to defend Canada’s universal, high-quality, public health care. -30-

For more information or to arrange interviews:

Michael Butler, mbutler@canadians.org, 416-414-1684

Colleen Fuller, 604-441-6296
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Re: Dr. Profit Goes to Court . . . Finally

Postby Oscar » Wed Sep 07, 2016 10:37 am

7 things you need to know about why medicare is being put on trial

[ http://canadians.org/blog/7-things-you- ... -put-trial ]

September 6, 2016 - 5:46 pm

Today [ https://ricochet.media/en/1381/this-cou ... ealth-care ], “The Council of Canadians organized a rally outside the Law Courts, which featured health care practitioners and researchers, as well as leaders from trade unions and civil society.”As Brian Day, who is known to many as ‘Dr. Profit’, attempts to land the knock-out punch to medicare [ https://ricochet.media/en/1378/doctor-s ... -ali-touch ], we were on hand to raise awareness and let the court know we won’t stand by quietly as profit is patients.

Dr. Day, who is supported in court by a right wing, Calgary-based lobby group with close ties to formed Prime Minister Stephen Harper and its government, and other corporate interests, pretend this case is about health care. In reality, "Although (Day) argues that he's fighting for patients and the right of patients to pay, he's actually fighting for the right of doctors to charge." [ https://www.metronews.ca/news/vancouver ... -case.html ]

Earlier today, Council of Canadians spoke to media from across Canada about the case. Here are some highlights from those interviews and 7 things you need to know.

1) This case is the greatest threat to medicare in a generation. But make no mistake, sadly, this cases isn’t about improving health care, but money and greed. Dr Day is using misinformation and the courts recklessly to force in a two-tier US style system. While a lot of people may not be aware of this case, it is not an exaggeration to say consequences of this case will have a serious impact on medicare and all Canadians should be concerned.

2) Poll after poll shows Canadians strongly support medicare and its core principle that health care should be provided on need, and not ability to pay. While there are real challenges faced in our universal public health care system, we need to modernize and not privatize. What Dr Profit is trying to do is flawed [ http://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/ ... e24042310/ ] and is not the solution; it is against the Canada Health Act and its principles of universality and equity. The costly queue-jumping he is advocating for doesn’t benefit every day Canadians. What it does do is jeopardize the universal public health care system everyone in Canada relies on for his and his shareholders’ personal financial gain.

3) Ultimately, the crux of the issue and what this case is really about is funding and making money, not services and the rights for patients. Anyone who tells you this is about ‘choice’ is blatantly lying to your face. We already have the option in Canada for doctors to opt out [ http://umanitoba.ca/outreach/evidencene ... ives/25738 ] of the public system and charge what they want in boutique clinics. What Dr. Profit wants to do is enrich himself further, by charging unlimited amounts for services and then turn around and charge government and tax payers for this. Double billing, which is illegal and unfair, is not the Canadian way. But, if Dr. Profit wins the court case we will be, "paying twice for the same service – once through our taxes and once through the nose." [ http://canadians.org/media/public-healt ... trial-week ]

4) Dr Profit’s clinics (the private Cambie Surgery Centre and the Specialist Referral Clinic) where caught breaking the law by engaging in extra and double billing practices. A 2012 audit conducted by the B.C. government found that in just one month, Dr. Day’s clinic had illegally billed patients nearly half $1 million including $66,734 in overlapping claims where Day billed both the patient and the province.

5) Evidence [ http://www.policynote.ca/the-evidence-o ... GI.twitter ] from around the world shows private clinics erode public health care and increase wait times. It has been shown that wait times are highest in Canada in areas with the most privatization because these clinics poach doctors, nurses and resources from the public system. And it is also worth noting that these clinics cherry-pick their patients and leave the more complex cases to the public system – if there is a complication from the surgery the patient goes to the public system to fix it.

6) Further, a study [ http://www.longwoods.com/content/22528# ... h2hDg.dpuf ] of over 1000 WCB patients in British Columbia has shown that not only was privately funded care more expensive, it did not improve return to work times (patients in the public system did marginally better but for a fraction of the cost).

7) Dr Day and his Public Relations team often quote a 2014 Commonwealth Fund study that compares OECD countries. In the study, Canada was 10 out of 11 countries in health system performance. The problem is this ideological study compares apples to oranges and has serious, serious methodological problems [ http://www.policynote.ca/the-evidence-o ... GI.twitter ] which any research methods teacher would give a failing grade. There are huge differences between national health systems (rural and remote composition, health delivery model, differing baskets of services) which preclude further valid comparison or extrapolation from this data. Many of the ratings are subjective and do not using appropriate objective measures to do an apples to apples comparison.

If you like the work we are doing to help protect Medicare, please help by donating:
[ https://secure.canadians.org/ea-action/ ... n.id=55589 ]

Michael Butler's blog
Health Care Campaigner
Council of Canadians
[ http://canadians.org/blogs/michael-butler ]
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Re: Dr. Profit Goes to Court . . . Finally

Postby Oscar » Fri Sep 09, 2016 5:28 am

“Dr. Profit” Goes to Court

Published in the Wadena News on September 5, 2016

For years, Dr. Brian Day, owner of Vancouver's for-profit Cambie Surgery Clinic, has been openly ignoring Canada's health care laws at the public expense.

A 2012 audit conducted by the BC Government found that, in one month, Dr. Day's clinic had illegally billed patients nearly $500,000, including $66,734 in over-lapping claims where he billed both the patient and the province.

Dubbed “Dr. Profit” by the media, his response to the audit was to launch a constitutional challenge claiming that those laws place limitations on private for-profit medical services and are in violation of the Canadian Charter of rights and Freedoms. This case is finally being heard on September 6.

Should the court support his claim, it would open the door to privatized health care with private insurance companies and market-based pricing for medical services, a two-tier model which burdens American residents with crippling medical bills and outrageously high insurance premiums.

Studies show that private clinics increase wait times because they entice doctors, nurses and other health care providers to work outside of the public system, putting pressure on governments to privatize health care.

As well, for-profit clinics are less safe and offer poorer quality of care, 'cherry-picking' patients with low-risk conditions while leaving the public system to care for patients with complicated and expensive health needs.

The outcome of Dr. Profit's reckless court case will determine the future of medicare in BC and threatens one of Canada's deepest held values, envied the world over: universal, accessible and publicly-funded health care which is delivered on the basis of a person's need and not on their ability to pay.

We must hope that the court will not open that door . . .

Elaine Hughes, Chair
Quill Plains (Wynyard) Chapter
Council of Canadians
ARCHERWILL, SK
http://canadians.org/
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Re: Dr. Profit Goes to Court . . . Finally

Postby Oscar » Sat Sep 10, 2016 7:38 am

The Day case

[ http://www.parklandinstitute.ca/the_day_case ]

"Freedom of choice," but only for some

Sep 08, 2016 by Rebecca Graff-McRae

After nearly eight years of delays and attempted negotiations, Dr. Brian Day’s Charter challenge against the BC Ministry of Health opened in the BC Supreme Court on September 6, 2016. Day, the force behind and key financial investor in several interrelated private surgical clinics under the Cambie Surgeries group, has spearheaded the movement to remove legislative restrictions
(primarily those set out in BC’s Medicare Protection Act) on private payment for services deemed medically necessary. Day and his co-complainants want Canadians to be able to pay – via private insurance or out-of-pocket – for medical procedures that are currently covered under their provincial health plans and under the remit of the Canada Health Act.

Already the narrative surrounding the case seems to be dominated by the myths of the "free market" and "freedom of choice" – articles in the Globe and Mail, CBC news, and Postmedia outlets have painted Day as a one-man crusader for justice, seeking merely to help average Canadians access the medical care they need without lengthy waits, which, Day claims, violate their Charter rights. Somewhat ironically, the sections cited by Day include Section 7 (the right to life, liberty, and security of the person) and Section 15 (every individual is equal before the law). The solution, as proposed by Day’s supporters, is to allow private payment for expedited access to medical care, with the plaintiffs arguing that doctors should be free to directly charge patients for medical services, facility fees for operating rooms and equipment, staffing costs, and many other extras over
and above the listed costs outlined in the provincial health plan.

Of course when you dig a little deeper into the circumstances of the case, the implications written between the lines of this narrative are not only more complicated than that – they directly and thoroughly contradict Day's assertions.

The first challenge here is to the motivations behind the suit: altruism on the outside, obscuring illegal billing on the inside. The case was brought in response to attempts by the BC Ministry of Health to conduct an audit of Day’s clinics after a preliminary investigation found significant evidence of extra-billing (charging patients out-of-pocket above and beyond the amount covered by medicare) and double-billing (charging both the public medicare plan and the patient or the patient’s private insurance for the same service). Both practices are proscribed by the Medicare Protection Act, and the Canada Health Act (they are also prohibited in Alberta’s legislation, and all provincial health plans). As part of the lawsuit, the audit was stayed, and Day was able to claim that it was the Ministry of Health’s actions that were unconstitutional, not his own billing practices.

Putting aside the legal and financial vested interests held by Day specifically (and the other clinic owners supporting the suit), there is a mountain of national and international academic evidence undermining the so-called "solution" of parallel public and private pay health systems:

1. The introduction of a parallel (or second-tier) private stream actually increases wait times in the public system: first, by funnelling qualified doctors and nurses into the more lucrative private practices; second, through inefficient utilization of operating rooms and diagnostic equipment (more of which becomes allocated to private facilities); third, as financially wealthy patients pay to "skip the queue" to see specialists, they are then able to re-enter the public system for follow-up care, or for
emergency care when complications arise; and fourth, because doctors working in both streams are given a financial incentive to maintain long public waits in order to provoke a further exodus to their own private facilities. Evidence from Quebec, following the 2005 Chaoulli decision (upon which Day’s case is ostensibly based) showed that despite a proliferation of private clinics in the province wait times remain the same or longer, and illegal billing practices have skyrocketed. In the Australian system, a study by former Alberta Health Services CEO Stephen Duckett "suggest[s] that increased private sector activity is associated with increased public sector waiting times, the reverse of the rhetoric supporting policies to increase support for the private sector in order to 'take the burden off the public sector.'"

2. Only those with substantial financial means can avail of the option for "faster" or "better" care, entrenching a rich/poor divide that discourages lower-income patients from seeking necessary care. Moreover, studies show, despite often utilising the latest in technological or medical advances, care received in private facilities is often the same or lower quality than public care, with higher mortality rates, and high rates of transfer to public hospitals when complications arise.

3. Relying on private insurance is not an option for many – those with pre-existing conditions face addition barriers to insurance, and even those who are able to access plans would have to be subject to means testing, high premiums, or co-pays. The fallout from the institution of Obamacare in the United States also illustrates the profit motive for insurance companies, many of which have refused to offer the lowest-priced packages or to take on lower-income applicants. In the Canadian system, the public insurer is intended to act equitably for all residents, not maximize its bottom line.

4. The best solutions to wait times involve innovation, efficient management, and political investment in the public system. Pilot projects in several provinces (BC and Alberta provide excellent examples) show that simple measures such as creating a single wait list on a next-available-doctor basis, maximizing operating room capacity and efficiency, integrating existing systems, and emphasizing collaborative care can significantly reduce wait times without additional financial investment or reliance on private providers.

5. A decision in favour of Day and the private clinics group would not only allow for private-pay options for surgeries, it would open the door to permit all physicians to bill for any medical service at a rate of their choosing, while continuing to bill the public plan under fee-for-service reimbursement. As we have seen with dental care, the existence of market competition in health care does not, in and of itself, create price fairness. In fact, the costs of private health services are increasing exponentially faster than those publicly covered, according to statistics compiled by the Canadian Institute for Health Information.

A favourable ruling will encourage private clinics – from surgeries to GP's offices – to literally profit from de-investment in public health care. A report commissioned by the federal government in its role as intervenor in the case finds that the detrimental effects of permitting private care on this basis would include "greater income inequality, more people in dire financial straits [to pay for care], and even doctors encouraging longer wait times in the public system to nudge patients into the private system."

Somewhere between the rhetoric of "freedom of choice" and "timely access" of care we find the heart of the Day case: an opportunity to undo the tenets of the single-payer health system of equal access based on medical need, not ability pay. Those who can afford to disregard such principles are clearly not the ones who will suffer without them.

- - - - -

Rebecca Graff-McRae completed her undergraduate and doctoral studies at Queen’s University Belfast (PhD Irish Politics, 2006). Her work, which interrogates the role of memory and commemoration in post-conflict transition, has evolved through a Faculty of Arts fellowship at Memorial University Newfoundland and a SSHRC post-doctoral research fellowship at the University of Alberta. She has previously worked with the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland and Edmonton City Council.
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Re: Dr. Profit Goes to Court . . . Finally

Postby Oscar » Sat Sep 10, 2016 7:58 am

Quill Plains (Wynyard) chapter highlights implications of "Dr. Profit" court case

[ http://canadians.org/blog/quill-plains- ... court-case ]

September 10, 2016 - 8:41 am

Vancouver-based Council of Canadians organizer Harjap Grewal and public health care advocate Colleen Fuller lead a rally on the first day of a pivotal court case on the future of public health care in Canada. (PHOTO)

- - -

WATCH: 6-minute Global News interview with Council of Canadians health care campaigner Michael Butler.
[ http://canadians.org/blog/7-things-you- ... -put-trial ]

- - - - -

The Council of Canadians Quill Plains (Wynyard) chapter is highlighting the implications of a lawsuit now underway in a Vancouver court that has major implications for the future of our public health care system.

In a letter to the editor published in the Wadena News on September 5, chapter activist Elaine Hughes writes, "For years, Dr. Brian Day, owner of Vancouver's for-profit Cambie Surgery Clinic, has been openly ignoring Canada's health care laws at the public expense. A 2012 audit conducted by the BC Government found that, in one month, Dr. Day's clinic had illegally billed patients nearly $500,000, including $66,734 in over-lapping claims, where he billed both the patient and the province. Dubbed 'Dr. Profit' by the media, his response to the audit was to launch a constitutional challenge claiming that those laws place limitations on private for-profit medical services and are in violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms."

Remarkably, Dr. Day claims that British Columbia's ban on the purchase of private insurance for medically necessary services that are already covered by the public system is a violation of Section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. He contends that our public health care system is infringing on a person’s security, right to life and liberty when there is a wait time. Day argues that if you have the money, you should have the right to buy your way to the front of the line.

Hughes says, "Should the court support his claim, it would open the door to privatized health care with private insurance companies and market-based pricing for medical services, a two-tier model which burdens American residents with crippling medical bills and outrageously high insurance premiums. Studies show that private clinics increase wait times because they entice doctors, nurses and other health care providers to work outside of the public system, putting pressure on governments to privatize health care. As well, for-profit clinics are less safe and offer poorer quality of care, 'cherry-picking' patients with low-risk conditions while leaving the public system to care for patients with complicated and expensive health needs."

And she concludes, "The outcome of Dr. Profit's reckless court case will determine the future of medicare in BC and threatens one of Canada's deepest held values, envied the world over: universal, accessible and publicly-funded health care which is delivered on the basis of a person's need and not on their ability to pay. We must hope that the court will not open that door..."

Dr. Brian Day launched the lawsuit in July 2012, but now, after many delays, the hearings began this past Tuesday. In February 2013, we began blogging on this lawsuit. In September 2014, we participated in coordinated media conferences in Vancouver, Toronto and Halifax to express concern when the BC government was seeking an out of court settlement with Day. We have even encouraged our donors to help pay for the legal representation needed by our allies and interveners in this case, the British Columbia Health Coalition and Canadian Doctors for Medicare.

On Tuesday (September 6) we helped mobilize a protest on the front steps of the BC Supreme Court for the first day of the hearings.

Those hearings are expected to last six months.

For more on this court challenge, please see this 6-minute Global News interview with Council of Canadians health care campaigner Michael Butler.
[ http://canadians.org/blog/7-things-you- ... -put-trial ]

Tags: chapters
[ http://canadians.org/tags/chapters ]

Brent Patterson's blog
Political Director of the Council of Canadians
[ http://canadians.org/blogs/brent-patterson ]
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Re: Dr. Profit Goes to Court . . . Finally

Postby Oscar » Mon Sep 12, 2016 9:38 pm

Join us and stand up for Canada’s public health care system.

[ https://actions.sumofus.org/a/save-cana ... are-system ]

Friends,

WOW! Canadians love our public health care. Thousands of dollars are pouring in to defend it against a court challenge that would privatize our medical system and open the door to U.S. insurance companies.

We’re preparing to deliver a massive petition to the for-profit surgery clinic behind the constitutional challenge this week.

Join us and stand up for Canada’s public health care system. [ https://actions.sumofus.org/a/save-cana ... are-system ]

Emma, Angus, Rosa, Liz, and the rest of us

- - -

SumOfUs is a worldwide movement of people like you, working together to hold corporations accountable for their actions and forge a new, sustainable path for our global economy.

Like us on Facebook
[ https://www.facebook.com/SumOfUs-181924628560212/ ]

or Follow us on Twitter
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Re: Dr. Profit Goes to Court . . . Finally

Postby Oscar » Fri Apr 14, 2017 2:45 pm

Dr. Day court challenge for private health care adjourned until at least September

[ http://canadians.org/blog/dr-day-court- ... -september ]

April 14, 2017 - 8:47 am

Vancouver-based Council of Canadians organizer Harjap Grewal and public health care activist Colleen Fuller on the first day of the court proceedings.

The Council of Canadians mobilized outside the B.C. Supreme Court on September 6, 2016 at the beginning of Dr. Brian Day's legal challenge against public health care.

Dr. Day, medical director of the Cambie Surgery Centre, a private Vancouver clinic, claims that British Columbia's ban on the purchase of private insurance for medically necessary services that are already covered by the public system is a violation of Section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

He contends that our public health care system is infringing on a person’s security, right to life and liberty when there is a wait time. Day argues that if you have the money, you should have the right to buy your way to the front of the line.

The National Post has reported, "The case could effectively end the equal access that is at the heart of the country’s health-care system, critics warn."

That article also noted, "Defenders of the medicare system not surprisingly reject Day’s talk of rights and injustices, saying evidence shows that freeing up a private system — even if it worked hand-in-hand with the public one as he proposes — would only make it tougher for the poor to access care, and vacuum resources from the public side."

Fundamentally our position has been that people should have access to medical care based on need, not on ability to pay. We have also highlighted that there are public solutions to addressing wait times.

Now, The Globe and Mail reports, "The constitutional challenge of Canada’s public health-care system has adjourned until September, with the plaintiffs arguing they have run out of money for the case and accusing the British Columbia government of stall tactics. ...The adjournment further delays a landmark case that began more than seven months ago, to significant attention, but which has since slowed to a crawl. The matter, which is being heard in B.C. Supreme Court, had been expected to take six months but the plaintiffs are only halfway through their case and the province has not yet begun its submission."

The Vancouver Sun adds, "B.C. Supreme Court Justice John Steeves said he was not optimistic the trial will resume as hoped on Sept. 5 because procedural and evidentiary issues may not be ironed out by that date." That said, The Globe and Mail notes, "When asked what the plaintiffs will do if they have not raised sufficient funds for the case by September, Dr. Day said they are determined to proceed."

Various news reports note that Dr. Day and the plaintiffs have already spent $2 million pursuing this case backed by the Canadian Constitution Foundation.

Dr. Day launched the legal challenge in July 2012. We began blogging on the issue in February 2013. In September 2014, we participated in coordinated media conferences in Vancouver, Toronto and Halifax to express concern when the BC government was seeking an out of court settlement with Day. We have even encouraged our donors to help pay for the legal representation needed by our allies and interveners in this case, the British Columbia Health Coalition and Canadian Doctors for Medicare.

We will continue to monitor the developments in this case.

Brent Patterson's blog
Political Director of the Council of Canadians
[ http://canadians.org/blogs/brent-patterson ]
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