Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Son of Chaoulli

Bill Murray is out to challenge Canada's outdated government health care monopoly.

No not the Bill Murray from Saturday Night Live fame.

This Bill Murray is an Albertan accountant who, with the assistance of the Canadian Constitution Foundation, is launching a legal challenge to Alberta's health care laws, which he says deny him the right to timely service.

Murray, of course, is trying to copy Dr. Jacques Chaoulli, a Montreal doctor who successfully challenged Quebec's health care laws on the same premise.

In the Chaoulli case the Supreme Court of Canada essentially ruled that access to a waiting list is not access to care.

In Murray's case the government refused him a hip operation because at age 57, he was deemed too old to enjoy the benefits of the procedure.

So much for our compassinate health care system.

You can learn more about this historic challenge here.


Matt said...

2 down, 8 to go.

Miles Lunn said...

Actually there is only five to go since Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland & Labrador do not have laws prohibiting private health insurance for medically necessary services. The reason no parallel private system has developed in those centres is they don't have the population to sustain one whereas Alberta and Quebec do. Besides contrary to popular opinion, it is not illegal to pay for medically necessary services as long as the doctor operates outside of medicare. Here in BC we have several private clinics where those with money can pay for faster service and no government of any political stripe has attempted to shut them down. Even under the socialistic NDP, private clinics flourished here in BC.

Matt said...

"Even under the socialistic NDP, private clinics flourished here in BC."

Are you sure you don't mean BECAUSE of the NDP?

It's interesting that those provinces do not have laws against insurance. If an industry could be set up in a more populous province it would seem to me that they might be able to sell policies to people out-of-province that would include transporation. After all, if you're insuring against a $20,000 medical procedure rolling a $500 flight into the policy won't have a large effect on the premium.

Miles Lunn said...

Are you sure you don't mean BECAUSE of the NDP?

The NDP certainly mismanaged health care, but I suspect the growth had might have had more to do with long-term risks involved in operating a private clinic. If a right wing government is in power, the fear is the election of a left wing government could result in the private clinic being shut down. On the other hand if even the NDP won't shut them down, than it is probably safe to assume no future government will shut them down.

I also agree that once private health insurance is available in the larger provinces, people in the smaller provinces will be able to purchase it. However, I wouldn't be surprised if Saskatchewan and maybe even New Brunswick try to change their laws if this happens.