May 22, 2014
Vancouver, BC

It’s a potentially precedent-setting case on private health care in BC.

In July of 2010, the Cambie Surgery Centre defied the province when it continued to bill patients for private medical services after being ordered to stop by the health ministry.

The case will eventually head to the courtroom, and the BC Health Coalition has now been allowed to have a pair of experts testify on the dangers and drawbacks of a two-tiered health care system.

In short, the surgery centre is fighting to be allowed to provide private services and bill patients. The province says a move towards US-style healthcare could be could be hugely negative.

“Dr. David Himmelstein, a professor at Harvard, will be speaking… [saying] that if we allow a two-tier system here in Canada.. because of our free-trade agreement with the US, we will essentially have a US-style health care system,” says Dr. Rupinder Brar with the BC Health Coalition.

The second expert will talk about a similar case in Quebec.

“[The case] definitely has the potential to set a precedent. It is definitely local here in BC but it will trickle throughout the country,” says Brar.

“The very, very powerful insurance companies in the US would be able to come into our country and basically dictate what happens, which is what they do in the US. They have very strong lobbying powers. And because of our free-trade agreement with the US, we can’t regulate these companies like the European countries regulate their own insurance companies,” she adds.

The case is not expected to wind up in court for several more months.