BC’s Embarrassing Health FAIL Could Point the Way to Long-term Solution Across Canada.

Luckily, that was only egg on the face of Health Minister Adrian Dix as the NDP government announced it would be sending BC cancer patients to the US for treatment.

Because if Dix was suffering anything more serious than embarrassment and humiliation … he might have had to endure those Emergency Room long, long waits or temporary total closures many other British Columbians regularly do … or he might even have found it impossible to find a regular family doctor to treat him.

Health care in BC is in a mess … and what could be more an admission of FAILURE than an NDP government sending up to 10,000 BC cancer patients, in a bid to save their lives to two Washington State Health Care Centres … including one that is private FOR-PROFIT facility

In February, the government acknowledged how serious the shortfall in cancer care in BC had become, announcing a 10-year plan “to better prevent, detect, and treat cancers now and in the future”, the Vancouver Sun reported.

“The plan says it will put more money into research, technology, and innovation. It is also adding new cancer centres — work is underway for new cancer centres in Burnaby and Surrey. It is also adding new diagnostic equipment and hiring new physicians and clinical support staff.”

Clearly too little, too late!

The NDP has been in power in BC, in its latest manifestation, since July 2017: they knew and they saw the province’s population was burgeoning; they knew and they saw the baby boomers were all ageing; they knew and they saw the number of cancer cases/patients was rising exponentially.

The previous Liberal government was warned: https://vancouversun.com/news/local-news/b-c-was-warned-a-decade-ago-to-prepare-for-cancer-case-influx-former-b-c-cancer-head.

John Horgan’s new NDP government was well aware early on what BC was facing, yet the NDP waited until just weeks ago, in February, to announce a 10-year plan to substantially improve cancer detection/treatment/care.

By the time that begins showing results, many of those now stricken with cancer will be dead. Just think how many could have been saved if the Liberal government had acted when it was warned or the NDP government made it a priority after taking office!

Instead, now we have seen what must be the most embarrassing moment in the life of the current NDP government: announcing it will spend $78 million over the next two years to buy cancer care treatments in the US for British Columbians.

According to the Vancouver Sun, at TRIPLE the cost of providing treatment here: “$12,277 for a patient receiving five fractions of radiation therapy compared to $3,854 here in B.C., according to the Health Ministry.”

Add to that: travel and hotel costs, which BC taxpayers will also pick up … and just imagine the added stress of distant travel, dealing with the border etc.

However, the current BC government is not alone in sending patients out of province for health care: the Liberals reportedly sent many needing health care to Alberta and the US as well; and other Canadian provinces have also sent patients out of province and/or to the US for care.

Let’s keep it real: Canada’ ‘s public health care system, set up in the 1960s, simply can no longer handle on its own our growing population and rapidly ageing patient load, requiring increasingly complex and costly treatments.

The system needs help … but paying American for-profit hospitals huge prices to provide it is not a good solution.

Just think of the hundreds of millions of dollars various federal and provincial governments have spent on lawyers and Courts fighting against private health care services … and how many people could have been treated … or even saved … if that money had gone into health care!

The federal government and the provinces have to rethink their opposition to having private for-profit health care centres in this country relieve some of the public burden, by doing publicly-paid for cancer treatments, MRIs etc. and even minor surgeries.

As part of our health care system … not in competition to it.

It will be decades before the public system alone will be able to catch up to demand … if ever.

Having private facilities provide public health services in Canada, paid for under the Medical Services Plan, would cost less than sending so many to the US.

And would be a much better solution that just telling so many they will have to suffer for many more months, or years before getting treatment … or die, waiting their turn.

Harv Oberfeld

(Follow @harveyoberfeld on Twitter for FREE First Alerts to new topics posted and up for public discussion.)

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