VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) – A BC doctor will finally have his day in court to find out if limiting access to private health care is constitutional, but critics maintain changing Canada’s system would have dire consequences.
Dr. Brian Day is among of group of people who want the BC courts to strike down provincial health legislation that limits for-profit delivery of medically necessary services. They argue the rules violate the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
“There are fundamental flaws in the Canadian health system that need to be fixed and what we’re doing is going to a judge and putting the evidence and facts before a court, rather than propaganda,” he says.
However, in a letter she delivered to Day’s clinic on the behalf of a group of concerned residents, Dr. Amy Luvik calls on Day to drop the lawsuit.
“Access to medical services based on need, not the ability to pay, is a fundamental part of being Canadian,” Luvik says.
“Instead, (Day should) champion some of the public solutions that would improve efficiencies in the public health system for everyone, while not putting those who can pay more in the front of the queue.”
Both Day and Luvik agree Canadians should have timely access to life-saving procedures, however, they differ on their methods of achieving shorter wait times as long lines plague hospitals across Canada.
Day says giving patients the option to seek private health services and insurance, like in several European countries, would reduce or eliminate wait times and “when there is no line to jump, it doesn’t matter if you’re rich or poor.”
Luvik argues creating a two-tier system would not reduce wait times and instead advocates for public solutions including surgery centres dedicated to some of the most required procedures like hip and knee surgeries.
Luvik says she felt compelled to write her letter, even if Day does not drop the lawsuit, while Day says in the eight years he’s waited for this case to go to court, two of the original six plaintiffs have died waiting for care.
“It would be a gross disservice to those individuals, especially those who died, to stop this action which is aimed at giving B.C. and then Canada a health system in which patients are not suffering and dying on wait lists,” Day says.
The case goes to court on Tuesday.