It looks like British Columbia is working hard to make medical care free for its residents. Starting this October, any doctor that is seen charging patients for medical procedures that are necessary will receive a fine of up to 10 thousand dollars. This move is a step in the right direction and it represents the enforcement of a law that has not been properly enacted in recent year.
How is this happening?
Well, for one, this decision comes after the case of Tamara Parrales. Faced with dealing with tremendous pain, she went to the emergency room in order to get checked out. Here she found herself dumbfounded when a specialist told her that she might have ovarian cancer but that the MRI results would only come in a couple of months, if she wanted to be treated by the public system.
Faced with such a hard decision, she went on and paid to get tested and have her surgery in a private clinic. She could not understand why she had to wait when her situation could have been life-threatening.
Government’s opinion on the matter
So far it looks like the government is denying there being a problem with the public system. It is only natural that wait lists for people that suffer from life-threatening illnesses are a problem than needs to be fixed. However, the government strongly denies the fact that there is a problem.
It is true that private clinics are legal but the fact that patients have to pay is illegal since it directly clashed with the Canada Health Act, which clearly states that every Canadian citizen has the right to receive free healthcare. However, private clinics are useful when contracted by the public system to carry out various procedures, being paid by the system and not by the citizens for their services.
Brad is a former Senior Fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University, is an award-winning travel, culture, and parenting writer. His writing has appeared in many of the Canada’s most respected and credible publications, including the Toronto Star, CBC News and on the cover of Smithsonian Magazine. A meticulous researcher who’s not afraid to be controversial, he is nationally known as a journalist who opens people’s eyes to the realities behind accepted practices in the care of children. Brad is a contributing journalist to Advocator.ca