Thursday, June 09, 2005


Are we seeing the beginning of the end of public health care?

I was going to write about the fact that no one seems to be covering this important issue that's making its way through a Supreme Court hearing, but we'll see what happens now.

From CBC:

"The Supreme Court of Canada ruled Thursday that the Quebec government cannot prevent people from paying for private insurance for health-care procedures covered under medicare."

If you don't understand what this means to Canada, you should read it again. The Supreme Court was hearing the case of George Zeliotis, whose lawyer was arguing that the 1-year delay for a hip replacement violates his guaranteed rights of "life liberty and security".

Now, the Court split on whether the Charter of Rights and Freedoms were violated, which means there is no immediate national impact, but medical stakeholders are not so sure:

"Sharon Sholzberg-Gray, president of the Canadian Healthcare Association., said although the decision applies to the Quebec act, it's clearly "a clone of all the other provincial acts, and they're all clones of the Canada Health Act."

This ruling essentially paves the way for Canadians to sue insurance to pay for medical services as a result of delays.

It will be fascinating to see how the federal government, legal experts, provincial governments, the media and of course, the public respond to this new development.

I think the public will welcome this new ruling, but that remains to be seen.

More to come.....

UPDATE: The Canadian Medical Association has issued a release calling the decison a "historic ruling that could substantially changes the very foundations of medicare as we know it today."

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