Constitutional challenge could mean the end of health care in Canada as we know it

Dear editor,

Dr. Day, owner of a for-profit clinic in Vancouver, is challenging the Constitution for the right for private health care in Canada in September.

It may be a long fight but it could also mean, if he wins, the Americanization of our Canadian system.  Under NAFTA, large US corporations are kept out of Canada only as long as we have a fully public system.

As the fight to keep a fully public universal health care system begins in earnest this fall, there are some points we need to keep in mind.

A private health care system can selectively choose who to treat, charge them privately (as well as billing the public system), and send them back to the public system if complications arise.

A private system also skims doctors and nurses from the public system.

As has been shown in places where there is a mixture of public and private care, the lack of staff left in the public system only lengthens the wait lists.

Many believe our public system needs reforms and that it can be done from within without huge costs.

Yet, Mr. Harper has not renewed the Health Accord, has dismissed the Health Council and is set to drastically reduce federal funding for health care by 2016.

Your health should not depend on your wealth.

It is time to become informed and support universal public health care before it is too late and it is lost.

Zoë Levitsky

Comox

 

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