Healthcare union calls Kenney’s private care plan unconstitutional, points to B.C court ruling

This article was originally published by the CityNews/660 NEWS on September 10, 2020. You can view the original article here.

The Union of Healthcare Professionals (HSAA) says that Alberta’s Premier Jason Kenney’s private health plan is unconstitutional.

On Thursday, the B.C. Supreme Court dismissed a decade-long constitutional challenge over private health care made by Dr. Brian Day of the Cambie Surgery Centre, a private facility in Vancouver.

Day had claimed the public system denies patients their right to timely care. He was pushing to allow people to bypass the waitlists in the public health care system and pay out-of-pocket for a surgery.

But B.C.’s top court says Day failed to prove patients’ constitutional rights are being infringed upon by the Medicare Protection Act, which focuses on medically needed care – not whether someone can pay.

In a statement, the HSAA states the same conclusion can be drawn about Kenney’s plan and that it is not in accordance with the law.

“This was the most serious legal attack our public health system has faced to date…,” stated HSAA President Mike Parker in a release.

“The B.C. Supreme Court has made it clear that privatizing health care harms our ability to care for our sick and injured family, friends, and neighbours.”

The HSAA went on to say that the plan would have resulted in longer wait times for care due to public system funding being syphoned elsewhere.

“The Court has shown Kenney’s privatizing surgery and lab services in Alberta is not in the best interest of Albertans,” added Parker.

“I am calling on Jason Kenney to cancel all requests for proposals and stop handing out contracts to private health corporations.”

The HSAA adds that the COVID-19 pandemic has made it even more obvious that Kenney’s plan for a privatized health care system would not work.

“Health matters to all of us. We won’t let them destroy it. Let’s make it better.”

-with files from NEWS 1130