How Dare You Offer Healthcare for Profit!

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What a lovely editorial in the Toronto Star today:

Let me get this straight. A Vancouver businessman is preparing to open three medical clinics in Ontario where he'd charge patients at least $2,300 a year — before they could even see one of his doctors. Health Minister George Smitherman says, correctly, that this would break provincial law as well as the Canada Health Act governing medicare. But at the same time, Smitherman says he can't do anything until one of these clinics actually opens.

It's like saying you can't deal with someone who openly boasts about his plans to rob a bank until the safe is blown.

I could be wrong, but I gather that even in Canadian culture, robbing a bank is considered slightly more sinister than selling medical services to those willing and able to pay for them. Now, I don't doubt that these clinics violate the spirit and intent of Canadian healthcare legislation, but if there is no cost accounting requirement for these clinics, and they insist on annual fees allegedly for luxury non-medically-related services, they might very well meet the requirements of legislation.

Mr. Copeman's clinic wanted money upfront in addition to an annual fee, but that upset non-clients as well, so he decided to add it to the annual contribution.

BC's Opposition Health Critic David Cubberley sees the Copeman Clinic as "setting a dangerous precedent.”
Exactly so.

“Charging patients a fee for faster and better access to medically insured treatment is something to be worried about,” he said.

That's half right -- but not being allowed to charge such fees is also something to be "worried about".

Of course, the Canadian government is not serious about restricting the options of the rich and impatient, since it is not yet a felony for a Canadian to have medically necessary care performed outside of Canada.

1 Comment

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This page contains a single entry by Kevin published on February 5, 2006 4:27 PM.

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