03 May Newspaper Column: Make them Public

Saturday, 03 May 2008

Make them Public!

By Kyle Buott, Provincial Coordinator, Nova Scotia Citizens’ Health Care Network
Printed in The Chronicle Herald on May 3rd, 2008

This weeks’ provincial budget fails to protect the public health care system.

Instead of taking important steps towards ensuring we have a sustainable public health care system, the provincial government has decided to look the other way while privatization and violations of the Canada Health Act occur in Nova Scotia.

The Nova Scotia Citizens’ Health Care Network has been urging the provincial government to close the existing private, for-profit health care clinics and bring them into the public health care system.

In 2002, the province allowed Canadian Diagnostic Centres to open a private, for-profit MRI clinic in Halifax.  This clinic is in direct violation of the Canada Health Act because it sells medically necessary services for a fee and permits queue jumping, violating the Universality principle of the CHA which states medically necessary services must be provided on “uniform terms and conditions”.

In 2005, the provincial government allowed Scotia Surgery Inc. to open in Halifax.  This private, for-profit surgical clinic recently received a government contract for 500 orthopedic surgeries.  The major problem is that the staff for this clinic came from the public system.  Private health care does not create health care workers.

Canadians decided years ago that we wanted a health care system based on need, not the ability to pay.  We decided against an American-style pay-as-you-go system.  With 45 million uninsured and a further 100 million under-insured in our neighbour to the South, why does this government want to move backwards?

On Saturday, May 3rd, the Nova Scotia Citizens’ Health Care Network and its affiliates will be holding a Day of Action, with information pickets planned in more than 15 communities around Nova Scotia to demand the province bring the private clinics into the public system, stop the growth of future private, for-profit clinics, and seek public sector solutions to the problems in our health care system.

For more information see our website at www.nshealthcoalition.ca or call our provincial office at (902) 406-9422.