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Monday, November 17, 2008

Friends of Medicare “encouraged” by Conservative rejection of market-based health care reform: exclusive interview

Western Standard blogger Janet Neilson wrote:

By far the most disappointing news to come from the 2008 Conservative Party of Canada convention is the failure of the delegates to pass resolution P-106, which would signal that the party is supportive of encouraging experimentation with private delivery of health care within a universal system.

It was considered by most observers to be a modest policy proposal that kept the single-payer, universal health care system in place, while allowing the provinces to experiment with the private delivery of services. It was especially reasonable given the recent Supreme Court’s Jacques Chaoulli decision and the separation of powers in the constitution that leaves the provinces in charge of health care.

Here’s the exact wording of the policy:

P-106: To encourage provinces and territories to “further experiment with different means of delivering universal health care utilizing both the public and private health sectors.” FAILED

While Neilson and other free marketers may be disappointed by the failure of this health care reform policy, Friends of Medicare are “encouraged” by the news.

In an interview with the Western Standard, David Eggen, Executive Director with Friends of Medicare, said:

“We are encouraged to hear the Conservative policy convention has rejected this resolution. Hopefully, the party will listen to their membership and take steps to enforce the Canada Health Act.”

One of those steps to enforce the Canada Health Act would be to shut down the new Copeman Health Centre in Calgary.

In a Western Standard report in September, Eggen said:

“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."

If the Conservatives are serious about their opposition to private sector delivery of health care, will they now join forces with Friends of Medicare to shut down the Copeman Health Centre?


(Picture: David Eggen with Friends of Medicare addresses Calgary audience)

Posted by Matthew Johnston on November 17, 2008 in Canadian Conservative Politics | Permalink


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Rather than "Friends of Medicare" they are a group of hypocrites. Why? I recall when Nova Scotia refused to fund abortions performed in private clinics instead of hospitals where they were paid for. It was the federal government (previous Liberal one) that said NS must fund abortions no matter where they take place. There was not a peep from the Friends of Medicare or their crowd then condemning private clinics.

Posted by: Alain | 2008-11-17 12:11:48 PM

Are you really surprised Alain? That's standard practise. Canadians love it.

Posted by: Dan | 2008-11-17 4:44:00 PM

Section as it still stands:

"We will work with the provinces and territories in the development of national quality indicators and objectives."

I attended the convention and voted for P-106. While I think it would have been better to have it pass, I don't know that we should read too much one way or another into this resolution had it passed or failed. As one great speaker in favour of the resolution pointed out, bans on private parallel services are for unfree places like North Korea and Cuba. The rubber will hit the road in the provinces and territories where health care is provided. Chaoulli ruling changes the dynamic in many ways for many people.

Posted by: Liam O'Brien | 2008-11-19 7:38:19 AM

You're right, Liam -- but how does the party now ignore calls from FOM to shut down quasi-private clinics in Alberta that they say run afoul of the CHA?

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2008-11-19 8:20:58 AM

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