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Monday, September 22, 2008

Alberta NDP, Friends of Medicare and Council of Canadians gang up on healthcare choice in attack on new Copeman Healthcare Centre in Calgary

In press releases today, the advocates for maintaining the government monopoly on healthcare delivery in Alberta took aim at a new healthcare clinic that opened today in Calgary.

Copeman Healthcare Centres can be found in Toronto, Vancouver and now Calgary, and the company has plans for centres in every major Canadian city. The facilities include state-of-the-art in-house diagnostic & screening laboratories -- medical technology a recent Fraser Institute report revealed is in dangerously short supply in Canadian hospitals and clinics.

“Lack of access to cutting-edge medical technology has significant consequences; the most obvious is that a patient’s survival or return to full health is compromised because of a later or less sophisticated diagnosis and more invasive treatment,” said Nadeem Esmail, Director of Health System Performance Studies at The Fraser Institute and co-author of Medical Technology in Canada.

While the Copeman Healthcare Centre in Calgary could save lives, Alberta NDP leader Brian Mason said today that the facility breaches the Canada Health Act and should be shut down.

"This is queue jumping. The Copeman clinic checks your wallet before it checks your pulse and that's no way to run a health care system in Canada,” Mason said. "Copeman calls this the second phase of medicare but Albertans know two-tiered privatization when they see it.”

Friends of Medicare and Council of Canadians are leading the charge against the new health clinic claiming the access fee model will worsen Calgary’s shortage of doctors and health professionals. The organizations are also concerned that the Copeman clinic would reject patients who require care but could not afford the extra fees they are charging. Of course, Canadians who can’t afford the Copeman clinic fees can access the free public healthcare system, which should be less congested if the Copeman clinics are allowed to ease the healthcare burden of those willing to spend their after-tax dollars on health services.

David Eggen, Executive Director for Friends of Medicare in Alberta, added that “It is particularly shocking that a private clinic that flouts the Canada Health Act would open in the middle of a federal election, right in Stephen Harper's back yard. This follows a pattern where the Federal government is not enforcing the Canada Health Act and allowing private clinics to get a foothold at the expense of public health care."

Western Standard readers may remember Peter Jaworski's award winning article on Dr. Jacques Chaoulli. Fed up with seeing patients wait for surgery, banned by law from paying for the health care they needed, Chaoulli spent a decade fighting Canada's most sacred institution: socialized medicine.

Read the inspiring Jacques Chaoulli story here.

Posted by Matthew Johnston

Posted by westernstandard on September 22, 2008 in Canadian Provincial Politics | Permalink


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The sad part is that none of these groups have a problem with Kyoto, which if implemented would drain unlimited sums of precious tax dollars and give them to other countries. Surely that would destroy medicare, as well as every other social service, faster than some clinic in Calgary.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2008-09-22 6:08:46 PM

Luckily, we have the Canadian Constitution Foundation. They are right now in the process of getting cases worked through in Ontario and Alberta, which would expand the ruling in the Chaoulli decision to those jurisdictions.

Let's hope they are successful. For all of our sakes.

Posted by: P.M. Jaworski | 2008-09-22 7:04:37 PM

Great post Matthew!

I wonder if these "friends of long waiting times" realize how much the public system is private now anyway? Doctors, Pharma companies, medical equipment vendors, food services, utilities, construction contractors, and probably many more, are already private corporations.

The friends of "mediocre medicare" believe that the same money that would otherwise come from my pocket and go directly to these corporations, is better funnelled through the government first. I am so glad these angels of medicare are there to watch out for my well being!

Posted by: TM | 2008-09-22 7:18:14 PM

I've refused to pay into Medicare for most of my life. But I have always carried a lot of private insurance. Yes its expensive and it takes lots of work to pay the bills, but it won't get an MRI any quicker than Medicare will it? Government issued Healthcare is just like everything else "government issued". Inefficient and second rate. And that is in spite of all the wonderful people actually trying to work within the same system. They're just as stifled as the patients.
Bring on private health care. I'll take some of that!

Posted by: JC | 2008-09-22 9:23:35 PM

I really do wonder if these people stop to think about what they are asking people to do. Rather than "queue jump," as if health care was some sort of rubber-stamp assembly line, they expect people to suffer in silence for months, maybe years, until the socialized medical system decides it's their turn.

Get a clue, communists. This is our health, sometimes our very lives, we're talking about here. We're not going to subordinate them to some fuzzy, abstract notion of universality simply so you can go to bed at night telling yourselves what evolved beings you are. Stand in between me and my family's health, and yours will take a sudden turn for the worse.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-09-22 11:15:53 PM

I'm with you that one Shane!

Posted by: TM | 2008-09-22 11:44:57 PM

Well considering the tax wealth in Alberta, couldn't the provincal govenrment just pay the fee?

Posted by: Rob | 2008-09-24 12:30:10 PM

Considering Alberta has billions to put away into savings for the future but nothing to spend on healthcare now, I'd have to say the provincial government doesn't care about the suffering of the people today. They only care about letting the healthcare system fail so people will allow the private system to take hold in which all the governments special buddies that fund them will have a new private market to make billions off of.

Posted by: Toby | 2008-09-28 8:06:51 AM

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