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BC Liberals need to be upfront about private health care plans

Ministry’s plans for private hospitals, candidate’s praise of private care for the wealthy cause for concern

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE April 24, 2017

The BC Health Coalition is calling for transparency from the BC Liberals after former MLA and Liberal candidate Linda Reimer said Thursday that she supports private health care for "those who are able to afford it."

“We expected Premier Clark to clarify the party’s position following Reimer’s remarks, but she did little to assure voters that her government will not expand health care privatization if re-elected,” says Edith MacHattie, BC Health Coalition co-chair.

MacHattie says this is particularly concerning following Health Minister Terry Lake’s recent slip that his government is attempting the change B.C.’s rules to allow multiple day stays in private clinics - which would, in effect, sanction a private hospital sector in B.C.

Until Minister Lake’s recent comments, the province had dodged questions about whether they were moving ahead with a plan to usher in private hospitals. [1] After Reimer’s comments, MacHattie says voters deserve to know what the BC Liberals are planning.

If they are going ahead with the plan to allow three day stays in private, for-profit clinics, B.C. would be the only province in the country to allow multiple day stays. The College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC commented about the change:

"…we don’t really have private hospitals in this province today, what we have are private facilities … But the minute you start saying well it’s a three-day stay … it’s got to look like a hospital which means you have acute care nurses, hospital pharmacists, RT, PT, OT, blood bank and transfusion services.”

“So many in B.C. are already struggling to make ends meet,” says MacHattie. “The last thing we need is sky high private health care fees that only the wealthy can afford. Voters deserve to know whether that’s in the cards for them or whether they can count on the next government to defend and improve public health care services that regular people rely on.”

The BC Health Coalition advocates for strong public health care for all. The coalition is running a Vote Public Health Care campaign to encourage BC voters to consider parties’ positions on key health care issues when they go to the ballot box on May 9th. See more at www.votepublichealthbc.ca

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For more information contact: Adam Lynes-Ford, Campaigner 
cell: 604-787-6560 | adam@bchealthcoalition.ca | www.bchealthcoalition.ca

[1] http://www.health.gov.bc.ca/library/publications/year/2015_a/surgical-services-policy-paper.pdf

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