Agostino Di Millo, Toronto
While Dr. Day has the right to launch an expensive lawsuit against British Columbia Medicare – his cost estimate was $2 million a few years back – to obtain the right to charge his patients whatever he wants, he does not have the right to have his legal fees financed by a charitable organization, which issues tax receipts for donations. In the end that would mean we the taxpayers of Canada would be subsidizing his efforts to undermine Canadian laws that protect our health system.
According to Dr. Day’s “Charter Health” website, donations to his legal fund are tax deductible since he arranges to have them flow through the Canadian Constitution Foundation, a registered charity.
Isn’t it time for the Canada Revenue Agency to remove the “charitable” status from this “foundation”?
Wayne Robbins, Toronto
Thomas Walkom’s commentary on the threat to medicare in Canada is deeply disturbing. Our system of public funding of the private practice of medicine, underpinned by the five pillars of medicare (www.canadian-healthcare.org ), is a critically important hedge against the invidious effects of the growing disparity in income between the very rich and the rest of us.
Published evidence from many countries and my personal observations of the Australian system of medical care show unambiguously that the introduction of a two-tiered system, such as referred to in Walkom’s column, inevitably results in deterioration of services provided by the public system, while specialists’ services and resources become siphoned off to privately funded clinics. This ultimately ends up costing more, with no net benefit to society as a whole.
Our system of medicare is not perfect. The way physicians’ services are remunerated is inherently inflationary, for example, and does little to encourage appropriate emphasis on preventive health care. Neither of these problems would be solved by the introduction of a way for wealthy clients to gain preferred access to limited specialists’ services solely because they are rich.
One would hope that any decision rendered by the Supreme Court of Canada would take all the evidence from other countries into consideration, not just an ideologically driven selection of cases. And one would hope that the decision would ultimately represent justice for all Canadians.
Dr. Joe Clarke, professor emeritus, University of Toronto
‘Medicare is being put on trial’ by B.C. doctor, Sept. 6
Geordon Omand’s article concerning the move to increase types of procedures allowed by privatized health insurance simply describes another grab at two-tiered health care. Nothing less. Dr. Brian Day’s arguments are laughable.
How on earth does “avoiding a wait that might further endanger health” for anyone rich enough to take advantage of the situation NOT “increase the wait that might further endanger health” for some other Canadian? The poorer one. Unless Brian Day is also suggesting these procedures will be done totally in privatized hospitals that receive not one penny of public money to build or run…ever? You can bet the farm it does not! How can Canadians criticize the U.S.’s refusal to adopt a standardized health system and then turn around to take Dr. Day’s or the inevitable next advocate of increased private insurance seriously?
Can we please accept one thing we are doing right in this country and improve on it for all equally and not just some? Can we accept that the Dr. Days of this country will continue to push for a two-tier system and keep their motives in the proper perspective? This is all about insurance companies getting richer not Canadians getting healthier.
People with money already skip to the front of the line by leaving the country or by simple old fashioned influence but having your cake and eating it too would be so nice.
Rochelle Hatton, Sudbury
Finland has created one of the world’s best educational systems by banning private schools and valuing equality above all else. The Finns realized long ago that the best way to guarantee the support of their wealthiest citizens for public education was to ensure that their own children must also attend. Canada should apply the same reasoning to its public health care system.
Banning for-profit clinics would ensure that Canada’s wealthiest individuals support public health care in the knowledge that they and their families must rely on the same medical system.
Only by binding the best interests of Canada’s wealthiest individuals to the well being of all can we be assured of their unstinting support.
It is deceptive at best for the rich to argue that expensive, private health clinics will serve the interests of all Canadians, as if Canada’s poorest citizens would ever be able to access those facilities.
Private health care is intended for the monied not the masses, and should have no place in Canada.
As Tommy Douglas noted, “Health services ought not to have a price tag on them.”
Mike Ward, Duncan, B.C.
I would think that Doctor Brian Day would be much happier in the United States where the health and safety of patients definitely takes a back seat to their ability to pay. In the United States, it is well known that if you can’t afford to pay for a particular life-saving treatment, essentially, you are deprived of that treatment and may die. Doctor Day’s attack on Canada’s healthcare systems shows his personal philosophy regarding healthcare is very much aligned with this sad reality.
After all, since it is reported that he is already “double-dipping,” I would suspect that his court challenge isn’t about protecting patients’ constitutional right to life, liberty and the security of the person, and more about the almighty dollar. That, in itself, is somewhat “sick.”
Please consider moving to the U.S., Dr. Day, and leave Canada’s healthcare system alone. That way you can legally fill your personal coffers at the expense of rich patients, and abandon the poor to die. Meanwhile, the rest of our wonderful Canadian physicians can go about doing what they do best: saving or prolonging people’s lives no matter what their financial status happens to be.
J. Richard Wright, Niagara-on-the-Lake
Economist Yanick Labrie, in supporting Dr. Brian Day’s drive to put Medicare on trial, says Day’s case boils down to a patient’s right to choose. I think winning the case might actually boil down to just a rich patient’s right to choose, no one else’s.
I’m not sure I want to see the “revolution” Labrie enthusiastically suggests would come from such a change.
Bob Sutton, Camlachie
I was absolutely horrifed to see this article. For over seven years, Dr. Brian Day has pushed to have the Supreme Court end the delicate balance between the provinces and the federal government agreements that govern our precious universal health-care.
The Ontario Health Coalition, RNAO, and Doctors for Medicare have constantly tried to make everyone aware of the danger, but most people seem to believe our system is invulnerable and have ignored the warnings.
Ever since 2009, Dr. Brian Day and a “health-care broker” have attempted to break up the Canadian government rmedicare partnerships, to promote fast operations for the wealthy through their private care clinics and abroad. In fact, in 2009 the greedy profit-makers even made TV commercials for the USA market aimed at defeating President Obama’s health-care proposals. Jack Layton made a special trip down to Washington to present an honest picture of our cherished health-care to Americans. He said that it was disgusting to have Canadians downgrading our excellent system to others in order to maintain a personally lucrative market.
Dr. Day and Cambie Clinic profit by arranging for the wealthy to get fast operations in the USA and elsewhere. In 2009, Preeti Saran, the Indian consul general in Toronto, told a news conference that private hospitals and clinics in India serve thousands of patients a year from Europe, the United States, the Middle East and Canada. India sponsored a three-day trade fair in November at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, called “India Medical Tourism Destination 2009”. It was the first in Canada to enable customers to shop directly for quick spinal surgery, knee replacement or cataract operations.
Millions of Americans are still unable to afford enough costly family insurance, so they struggle to insure either themselves or their children. Then they are faced with signs in the doctors’ offices stating “we do not bill insurance”. You pay up front for everything and then attempt to wring reimbursement from the insurance companies and you need to be extremely careful to check exclusions and all the fine print on those policies.
On behalf of all Canadians with health problems, please pray with me that Dr. Brian Day loses his court case!
Shirley Bush, Toronto
Most of your readers are far too discerning to believe you when you say that Canadian patients “wait for operations and other procedures according to medically determined priorities”. In Toronto, it takes a day or two to see one’s family physician and six months or so to have a knee replaced or cataracts removed. In smaller towns, it may take weeks or months to see one’s GP, if there is one. These discrepancies in prioritization, and thousands of others like them, are not medically determined. They are determined by a host of economic and social factors not necessarily under the control of either doctors or bureaucrats. Doctors seldom claim they are going to fix all the problems, but governments often say they will fix at least the most egregious inequities in the system. These are the same governments that, in Ottawa, cannot pay their own staff and, in Ontario, will gladly spend over a billion dollars to mothball much needed electricity generating stations that they have already approved. It is all well and good for you to tell them they should “fix medicare”, but maybe they cannot or will not, in which case the courts must get involved. Who knows, perhaps an unfavourable court decision is just what the doctor should have ordered.
Patrick Cowan, North York
Our Medicare system seems to have worked out fine for Dr. Day’s practise throughout the decades he has operated, now this system appears not to suit his needs anymore.
He played Medicare in his prime and now when he finds himself on the other side of the bell curve he seeks to destroy the system that fed him. He needs ‘more money’, but he wants to play on both sides of the fence at the same time, and he wants us to pay for it, financially and with our future healthcare. If Medicare does not serve your financial situation then opt out and move to the U.S. insurance model.
Don’t destroy our healthcare system for future doctors who still believe in health before wealth. What a disgusting old P.O.S., physician heal thyself.
Richard Kadziewicz, Scarborough