Sponsors:
A Move Toward Private Medicine in Canada?

This is the last thing I was expecting - the Canadian Supreme Court struck down a Quebec law that made private insurance illegal.

I'd only recently discovered that Canada actually prohibited private insurance. I knew about the public healthcare system, but who would have thought that it would be illegal for people to go outside of that system and buy private health insurance? They'd still have to support the public system through taxes, so why not? But it turned out that things were far worse than I'd imagined.

But now I can take some comfort in the reversal of the private insurance prohibition; now the Canadian system is at least slightly less oppressive and morally repugnant.

What kind of person could actually support such a prohibition? What possible thought process could lead a person to the conclusion that it is okay? I'd always been curious:

Allowing people to buy private health insurance violates fundamental rights, McBane [coordinator of the Canadian Health Coalition, a healthcare advocacy group] says, because not everyone will be able to afford it.

"You can't discriminate based on the size of your wallet on something as important as healthcare," McBane says. "I would say this is an aberration and the democratic process will correct it."

from Canada inches toward private medicine

It's frightening that someone actually believes that. Allowing people to purchase services and engage in contracts with other willing people is a violation of fundamental rights? Of what rights?

McBane seems to imply that it violates some fundamental right of people who can't afford private health insurance, because that is 'healthcare discrimination'. Is it just me, or can no one else make sense out of this? Let's see... to begin with, Canada already has a system of public healthcare in place. Everyone has to pay for it, even if they also choose (or would choose) to buy private insurance. Everyone has access to this public healthcare. So it's not even an issue of some people being denied healthcare because they can't afford it.

So what fundamental rights are being violated? Did the Canadian God of Fundamental Rights decree that every person has a fundamental right to have access to the very same quality of healthcare as the wealthiest members of society? McBane apparently thinks so - I can't see how else he could think allowing private health insurance violated anyone's fundamental rights.

But by that logic, shouldn't it be illegal for wealthy members of society to pay cash for better or faster health services? I'm fairly sure that Canada does not prohibit doctors from opting out of the public health system and taking payments directly from patients - it's just illegal for people to get private insurance to cover such services. And as the article mentioned, wealthy Canadians sometimes head on down to the U.S. for better and faster medical care. Is that a violation of fundamental rights too?

You can politicize it and try to embed it in "the complex network of social structure and interaction" all you want, but the reality of it is the same: Some people want to make deals with insurers, trading for the guarantee that the insurers will assist them in securing the services of doctors. People freely dealing and contracting with other people. The only violation of fundamental rights here is occuring when the government decides to forcibly prevent people from such free interaction.

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