This weekend, the Vancouver Sun printed an inexcusable op-ed by Dr. Brian Day, making the case for mandatory private health insurance in B.C. I say inexcusable because the gloss on Day (a Vancouver orthopedic surgeon and a former CMA president) somehow overlooks the fact that Mr. Day is the president of Cambie Surgery Centre, Canada’s (and B.C’s) only private hospital. Day would presumably stand to gain a great deal from an influx of new private money into the healthcare system. Incidentally, he doesn’t bother to point out his obvious interest in the issue in the body of the article, either.
Before discussing Day himself, let me point out that his argument is unadulterated bullshit. Day says that we should pass a law saying everyone has to have private health insurance — basically, the sort of thing the Obama administration was promoting in the U.S. — instead of the current patchwork of basic Medicare (public) and extended health (private or Pharmacare). For a half-million people who can’t afford to pay, he says the government will kick in $125 per month per family. Somehow he thinks this will be cheaper than keeping things in the public sector, but there’s no reason to believe that. The bottom line is that someone is going to have to pay for healthcare, or it’s not going to be delivered. Either that someone is a private individual, or it is the government. Either we pay for healthcare, or we go without. The contrived notion that who pays will somehow affect that fundamental reality is one which people only raise because they have an interest in the matter. If we can afford to do this, we should do it collectively, so that everyone benefits equally. Day’s system is just a way for people with more money to purchase better health. The one thing added private money will lead to is an influx of new clients for private-sector surgery centres like Brian Day’s own Cambie clinic in Vancouver.Tweet