Patients > profit

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Dear Paov --

It’s a clear turn away from the “don’t ask, don’t tell” approach to unlawful private billing practices at private clinics in BC.

Yesterday, Health Minister Adrian Dix announced that the BC government will bring into full force the Medicare Protection Amendment Act—a law that was passed 15 years ago—in order to strengthen the province’s powers to stop unlawful private fees and to protect patients. [1]

This is very good news.

The province’s plan to clean up unlawful private billing, combined with the Surgical and Diagnostic Imaging Strategy to drive down wait times in the public system, will mean patients will get faster access to care without facing steep private fees. [2] [3]

For... years, BCHC members have been on the forefront of the fight to protect patients from illegal billing. You made this happen.

Now private clinic owners and health care profiteers are hitting back hard in the media against government action to protect patients, arguing that they should be able to profit off patients and our health care system.

If hundreds of public health care supporters get their stories into local newspapers across the province supporting the measures to stop unlawful private fees and increasing public capacity, then the B.C. government will have support to follow through with their commitment to stopping unlawful billing and to protect patients.

Click here to send a letter to your local newspaper supporting the province’s measures to stop unlawful private fees.

Patients bear the brunt of the huge costs from the private clinics – up to five times more than those in the public system.

On top of that, we learned yesterday that BC is going to be fined $15.9 million by the federal government for allowing extra-billing during the 2015-16 fiscal year with more possible fines to come if BC doesn’t deal with the problem.

That means British Columbians will be paying the fine for the unlawful billing of some doctors and private, for-profit clinics.

Click here to send a letter to your local newspaper supporting the province’s measures to stop unlawful private fees.

And the timing couldn’t be better.

Private clinic owner Brian Day’s court case to undo Canada’s public health care system resumes in five days on Monday, April 9th.

As intervenors of the case, the BC Health Coalition represent the vast majority of people in Canada who believe our ability to get health care should be based on need, not ability to pay.

Brian Day's lawsuit wants U.S.-style health care for Canada - where people go bankrupt, lose their homes and life savings, or worse because they can't afford treatment when they need it.

If newspapers across the province print your stories, the heightened media attention at the start of the Day case will only amplify support for our public health care system.

Write a letter to your local newspaper editor supporting the province’s measures to stop unlawful private fees. Click here to use our Letter to the Editor tool.

Thank you,

Edith and Rick,

BC Health Coalition Co-chairs

P.s. According to our research, B.C. has the second highest rate of unlawful medical billing in the country - with as many as 30 of the BC’s 34 private clinics we surveyed charging fees banned under the law. [4]

For too long private clinics have taken advantage of patients in need while the province turned a blind eye. Send your letter to the editor now.

P.p.s. Writing a letter to the editor in your local or regional newspaper is an effective and easy way to reach thousands of voters, and local candidates. Click here to write a letter.

Even if your letter is not published, it is important for educating and persuading editors. The more letters they receive on a given topic, the more likely they are to dedicate more time in their newspaper to that issue—both on the editorial page and in news articles. It clearly expresses the issue’s importance to the community.


Sources

[1] https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2018HLTH0027-000559

[2] https://www.bchealthcoalition.ca/news/2018-03-bc-health-coalition-says-surgical-strategy-will-modernize-bc%E2%80%99s-surgical-system

[3] https://www.bchealthcoalition.ca/action_on_mri_waittimes

[4] https://www.bchealthcoalition.ca/sites/default/files/uploads/documents/private%20clinics%20report_2017.pdf


The BC Health Coalition exists thanks to the generous support of people from all across the province. If you'd like to donate to help fund our work, click here.

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

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