B.C. Health Coalition calls on Harper to defend medicare in B.C.

The Federal government must follow through on its promise to uphold the Canada Health Act, and refuse to allow public funds to be used to underwrite the profits at the Copeman Healthcare Centre. The BC Health Coalition (BCHC)  sent a  strongly worded letter yesterday to Prime Minister Harper demanding that he take action similar to his intervention in Alberta to reverse the explosive growth of private health clinics in B.C.

In its letter, the BCHC noted that in 2004, Health Canada reports showed that Canada Health Act violations mainly occur in two provinces: Alberta and British Columbia. This was eight years after then-Health Minister Diane Marleau ruled that so-called -facility fees" violated the Canada Health Act. Her ruling has been repeated by every single minister who succeeded her. But British Columbia appears to be exempt from this ruling since many of the 65 surgical clinics located in the province continue to charge for services covered by the BC Medical Services Plan.

The Copeman Clinic plans to charge a membership fee of $2,300 per year for medically insured and uninsured services. Don Copeman, founder of the Copeman Clinic and co-owner of the False Creek Surgical Centre, has announced that he plans more -boutique-style" centres across Canada.

-The Federal government must act quickly and decisively to end private-for-profit projects which undermine medicare," says Joyce Jones, co-chair of the B.C. Health Coalition.