Friday, December 01, 2006

A little less conversation

B.C.'s Health Minister is now at least going through the motions of cracking down on the province's soon-to-be-opened private emergency room:
A showdown over the future of medicare is expected to unfold in Vancouver today as the B.C. government threatens to shut down a private clinic that may start charging patients for services that should be free under the health care system.

"We need to ensure universal access to health care is maintained in this province," B.C. Health Minister George Abbott said Thursday.

In what Abbott called "an extraordinary move," the B.C. government pushed through a cabinet order Thursday that will empower government auditors to enter the premises of the Urgent Care Centre that has promised to open its doors today in Vancouver.
But while that first step is certainly better than nothing, it's worth noting that the rushed cabinet order would never have been necessary (and indeed the clinic might never have opened) if Abbott had paid attention when the clinic's director made his intentions known months ago. Which leads one to suspect that the Campbell government is looking for a fight where the odds are stacked against a single-payer health care system.

Of course, it could be that the original lack of action was a mere oversight. But given the Campbell government's track record of doing absolutely nothing when it comes to other private health care providers, it still looks like there's plenty of need to keep the heat on Abbott's department to make sure that the False Creek clinic doesn't wedge the door open for further private expansion.

(Edit: typo.)

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