On July 7th, 2009, Pamela Fayerman of the Vancouver Sun conducted a very interesting Interview with the BC Health Minister at the time, Kevin Falcon.
We thought it was worth digging up, especially given the landscape today, nearly five years later. Although the entire interview is very engaging, what we found most interesting is that the "principles" of the health minister shine through. The Health Minister was actually making some good sense!
Question: So is there any reason why people can't use their own money to pay for their health care? They can buy private school education but not private care.
(Kevin Falcon): That's right and I don't have an objection to people using their own money to buy private services, just as they do with dentists, just as they do with other decisions they make, sending their kids to private school or what have you. I think choice is always a good thing actually. Reducing choice, I don't think is a particularly good thing.
Question: Okay, but right now the government is involved in a lawsuit, litigation with private clinics which I'm sure you've been briefed on. The Medical Services Commission wanted to do audits on clinics to find out if they are charging patients for care and in response the private clinics are suing the government.
Is that case going forward? How do you reconcile your views with this?
(Kevin Falcon): Well to be honest I haven't been fully briefed up on that. It sounds like it is currently before the courts so I have to be very careful with my comments. So I'm just speaking in principle. The issue is what happens in the system now is if you are required to wait for an elective surgery, it's because the attending physician has determined your level of acuity and has made a decision as to how urgent your need is to be treated. Those who don't wish to wait and want to pay to have it dealt with immediately at a private clinic have the right to do that and I don't have any philosophical objection to that.
For those of you who are interested, the full interview can be found on Pamela Fayerman's Vancouver Sun blog.