Your monthly update from the BC Health Coalition

State of BC Health r1 BC Health

Your July 2023 monthly update from the
BC Health Coalition


Landmark case spotlights problems of a profit-centred system

In a recent op-ed, BC Health Coalition Campaigner Noal Amir, health policy expert Andrew Longhurst, and associate professor of law Lorain Hardcastle discussed the Cambie Case and the increasing encroachment and impact of private, profit-centred health care. Although the 14-year legal saga has ended with the Supreme Court of Canada declining to hear the case, many provinces are ignoring evidence in this case indicating that a profit-centred system does not serve the public interest. Proponents of for-profit health care have mischaracterized the Charter challenge as the “right to private health care”. This framing ignores the history and facts of the case. There is no ban on privately paying for health care in Canada, and no federal or provincial legislation... prevents doctors from working in private-pay facilities or bans patients from paying for services. However, most provinces restrict or disincentivize doctors from working in the public and private systems at the same time to prevent taxpayers from subsidizing a private system that does not provide equitable patient access. Read the full article.


Sign the pledge: Let for-profit companies know our health is not for their profit

For-profit companies have been unlawfully extra-billing British Columbians, charging them for services already paid for by BC’s Medical Services Plan, including MRI or CT scans. Between 2016/17 and 2020/21, BC had $83.3 million of unlawful extra-billing – the most of any province in Canada. Take action today to support the BC government cracking down on for-profit corporations' unlawful practices. The extra charges could be as little as a $10 “tray-fee” or thousands of dollars for a private operating room. This is money that should be in the pockets of British Columbians as they struggle to pay for housing, medication, food, and other essentials. Tell for-profit corporations that our health is not for their profit. Sign our petition today.


It’s Time to Act: A Review of Assisted Living in B.C.

The BC Seniors Advocate has released a review of assisted living and is calling on government to address the current confusing legislative landscape to protect seniors from significant rent and service fee increases, improve oversight and reporting, and address affordability challenges by increasing the number of publicly subsidized assisted living units. The review identified a growing demand for publicly subsidized assisted living, however, the number of publicly subsidized units available have decreased by 15%. In fact, the only increase in the past five years has been in private pay assisted living units. Many of the issues identified in this report were also part of an earlier report co-published by Health Employees Union, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, and the BC Health Coalition. Read the BC Seniors Advocate full report or watch the presentation.


Greetings from Audrey

After a year of parental leave, it is with great purpose that I return to my role as Organizer at the BC Health Coalition. Becoming a parent has brought me so much joy in my private life. It has also redoubled my commitment to fighting for a safe and healthy future.

I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling a sense of urgency to safeguard our public health care system. With a primary care crisis and staffing shortages across the hospital system, proponents of privatization stand at the ready to offload some of these challenges from the public’s plate. It’s in this context that I’ve been thinking about our role as a provincial health coalition in building an organized public voice for public health care.

Profit-driven interests have never and will never centre the public good. What might seem like innovative and efficient “solutions” come at a steep price – a profit motive in our health care system, lower quality care, the loss of public oversight and accountability. Now is the time to organize, build power, and equip ourselves to be productive participants in guiding our health care system back to equilibrium.

Public Health News, Updates & Resources

Enabling a More Promising Future for Long-Term Care in Canada The third and final report from the National Institute of Aging dives into the lessons over the last three years of the COVID-19 pandemic, including expertise in financial and health policy, to create a feasible and fiscally responsible road map to ensure all older Canadians have access to high-quality LTC services.

‘Free medicines’ program an industry ploy to stop public pharmacare The pilot project from GreenSheild, comes with significant caveats: it covers only those below a certain income level, and reimbursements are restricted to a limited list of medications and capped at $1,000 per year.

BC Rural Health Network pushes to enhance healthcare travel aid The Travel Assistance Program currently, as Executive Director Paul Adams explains, is not comprehensive. BCRHN continues to advocate for equity in access to health care and is working with the BC Government to broaden healthcare travel assistance.

Ottawa's community health centres say they can play a big part in solving doctor shortage Community health centres, including Somerset West, that provide a team-based model of care can play a key role in solving the primary care crisis in Ottawa and help some of the most vulnerable residents find health care in the city.

BC’s Rural Emergency Room Crisis Data highlights just how seriously the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted health care across the province, especially for rural areas in BC.

BC Centre For Disease Control (BCCDC) SPEAK survey The province’s ongoing health survey asks any resident of BC, 18 years of age and older, to participate in their survey about how to improve the health of communities in BC, such as social, economic, and community-wellbeing, as well as physical and mental health.

Donate now

Donations by cheque can be made out to BC Health Coalition and mailed to BC Health Coalition 302-3102 Main Street Vancouver BC V5T 3G7. Or you can give monthly by cheque.

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British Columbia Health Coalition
3102 Main St, 302, Vancouver, Unceded Coast Salish Territories, BC V5T 3G7, Canada
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