A new lawsuit claims British Columbia's Medicare Protection Act is unconstitutional because it denies patients the right to seek medical care in the private sector if they so choose, reported the Vancouver Sun.
The plaintiffs in the case are the Canadian Medical Association's outspoken past-president and owner of the larger private Cambie Surgery Centre in Vancouver, Dr Brian Day (right); the False Creek Surgical Centre's Anna Stylianides; and Canadian Independent Medical Clinics Association president Zoltan Nagy.
The Sun's Pamela Fayerman and Catherine Rolfsen wrote:
"The plaintiffs will argue that the 2005 Chaoulli Supreme Court of Canada case should be applicable in B.C. In that case -- brought by appellants Jacques Chaoulli, a doctor, and George Zeliotis, a patient -- the highest court struck down Quebec's ban on private insurance for medically necessary services. The private clinics are expected to argue that citizens should be allowed to buy private health insurance to use in private clinics if their operative care is not delivered in a timely manner in the public system."More details should emerge after today's press conference. Canadian Medicine will keep you posted.
Update, Thursday, January 29: Read accounts of the press conference and the reactions of Liberal Health Minister George Abbott and NDP health critic Adrian Dix, in the Vancouver Province, the Vancouver Sun, the Canadian Press, and The Globe and Mail.
- Check out what readers are saying about the news on the Vancouver Sun's Soundoff page.
- Read my 2007 article "Chaoulli copycat cases crop up across Canada" from the National Review of Medicine, about the effects of the Chaoulli decision beyond the borders of Quebec.
- I also wrote about an Ontario lawsuit similar to this BC case.
- In August, as Dr Day ended his term as CMA president, Canadian Medicine asked, "Was Dr Brian Day's CMA presidency a success or a failure?"