For-Profit Health Care: A Fact Sheet

Produced by the Canadian Health Coalition

Medicare has existed in Canada for 50 years guaranteeing access to physicians and hospital services regardless of a person’s ability to pay. In recent years, Canada has experienced creeping privatization and for-profit delivery of health care services which has led to the illegal billing of patients, lower quality of care, unnecessary medical tests, and pressure on patients to buy.

  • Two reports in 2017 showed for-profit clinics across the country are illegally billing patients or misleading them into thinking they have to pay for publicly covered services.
  • Boutique clinics are common in major urban settings in Canada.  They offer “executive” services which have been shown to lead to unnecessary medical tests which may do more harm than good.
  • A doctor in British Columbia has taken his province to court arguing for the right of physicians to charge both the public system and the patient for the same procedure. He also argues there should be no cap on private fees for health care so doctors can charge whatever the market will bear.

88 private clinics across Canada have been illegally billing patients.
Ontario Health Coalition, 2017

  • For-profit diagnostic imaging centres have been established in Saskatchewan and Manitoba.  Although they provide fewer images than the new public MRIs, the provincial governments promote then as an “innovation” in health care delivery.
  • The for-profit plasma industry has opened clinics in 2 provinces in Canada, with plans to open many more.  They set up in vulnerable communities and pay people for their blood plasma and then sell it on the international market.
  • For years patients in Quebec were charged for services such as eye drops (up to $300), inserting an IUD (up to $200), and instruments and medication for a colonoscopy ($500)

The Federal Government’s Role and Responsibility

The federal government is responsible for monitoring and enforcing the Canada Health Act (Act). All provinces and territories must provide medically necessary heath care services that are publicly administered, universal, comprehensive, accessible, portable and delivered without user fees or extra billing.

To enforce the Act, the federal government can withhold health transfer money from offending provinces and territories.  However, in the recent years, the federal government has chosen to turn a blind eye.

Content from the Canadian Health Coalition, research provided by JoAnn Lauber

Green Shield Plan Questions

The BCRTA office staff are spending quite a bit of time dealing with questions and issues around Green Shield Canada (GSC) – the Extended Health Benefit provider for members in the Teachers’ Pension Plan. The move to Green Shield was a decision of the Teachers’ Pension Board of Trustees – not the BCRTA. The decision was made following an open competition; other insurance companies were invited to submit proposals and GSC won the competition. The BCRTA plays no role in this as we have no direct contractual relationship with GSC.

Please share this information:

  1. The GSC plan is like the former Blue Cross plan both in design and service. GSC has worked to ensure affordability by not increasing premiums this year and has also worked to be more precise, strict and consistent in interpreting the agreement and in accepting or denying claims.
  2. If a problem occurs:

a) Contact Green Shield directly and try to solve the problem with an agent of GSC.

b) If not satisfied escalate your demands by asking to speak to a supervisor. To request an escalation in service call toll free 1-888-711-1119 Mon. to Fri. 5:30am to 5:30pm or email: customer.service@greenshield.ca. Be specific.

c) If still not satisfied, access Green Shield’s Customer Complaint Resolution process at the following URL: http://www.greenshield.ca/en-ca/get-in-touch/we-re-happy-if-you-re-happy
You may also write the Teachers’ Pension Board. TPBT@pensionsbc.ca

Bill C27 Activity Summary Report January 2018

BCRTA Pension Advocacy Activity Regarding Bill C27

Contacts Made to January 23, 2018

  1. MP Cathy McLeod, Con. Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo: visit by 10 retired teachers + one letter
  2. MP Joyce Murray, Lib. Vancouver Quadra: 1 letter
  3. MP Fin Donnelly, NDP, Port Moody – Coquitlam: 4 contacts — 1 letter, 2 emails + 1 “contact”
  4. PM Justin Trudeau, PM, Lib. MP for Papineau: 6 letters and 1 email
  5. MP Ron McKinnon, Lib. Coquitlam –Port Coquitlam: 1 email
  6. MP Finance Minister Morneau, Lib. Toronto Centre: 10 letters and one face-to-face encounter
  7. MP Nathan Cullen, NDP. Skeena—Bulkley Valley: 2 emails and a letter, one letter contained 34 signatures; RTA met MP Cullen at an Open House.
  8. MP Elizabeth May, Green. Saanich—Gulf Islands: 6 letters and 1 email,
  9. MP Todd Doherty, Con. Cariboo–Prince George: 12 contacts: 9 “messages” and 4 letters
  10. MP Alistair McGregor, NDP. Cowichan — Malahat — Langford: 2 letters
  11. MP Andrew Scheer, Con. Leader of the Opp, MP for Regina—Qu’Appelle: 1 letter, 1 email
  12. MP Peter Julian, NDP. New Westminster, Burnaby: 3 letters
  13. MP Ken Hardie, Lib. Fleetwood –Port Kells: 1 email
  14. MP Jenny Kwan, NDP. Vancouver – Mt. Pleasant: 1 letter sent by email
  15. MP Don Albas, Con. Central Okanagan — Similkameen — Nicola: 1 long visit + a letter
  16. MP Kennedy Stewart, NDP. Burnaby South: 1 letter
  17. MP Tom Mulcair, NDP. Outremont: 1 letter + 1 email
  18. MP Mel Arnold, Con. North Okanagan- Shuswap: 2 visits, one involving several people
  19. MP Stephen Fuhr, Lib. Kelowna – Lake Country: 1 visit and 1 letter
  20. MP Jane Philpott, Lib. Markham – Stouffville: 2 letters
  21. MP Scott Brison. Lib. Kings-Hants, President of the Treasury Board: 1 letter
  22. MP Diane Watts: Presently Lib leadership candidate BC: 1 letter
  23. MP Carla Qualtrough. Lib. Delta: 1 call – several other calls had been received
  24. MP Patty Hajdu, Lib. Min. of Employ’t, Work Force Dev, Labour: Thunder Bay-Superior: 1 letter
  25. MP Sheila Malcolmson, NDP. Nanaimo Ladysmith: 4 emails + 1 letter
  26. MP Murray Rankin, NDP.Victoria: 2 letters
  27. MP Rachel Blaney, NDP. North Island –Powell River: 3 emails
  28. MP Gord Johns, NDP. Courtenay—Alberni: 4 written contacts
  29. Robyn Benson, National President Public Service Alliance of Canada: 1 email
  30. Wayne Stetski, NDP. Kootenay—Columbia: 2 contacts
  31. Richard Cannings, NDP. South Okanagan — West Kootenay: 2 contacts and several others
  32. Pamela Goldsmith, Lib. West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast- Sea to Sky Country. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade: 3 phone calls and 1 email.
  33. Dan Ruimy, Lib. Pitt Meadows — Maple Ridge: 1 contact (email)
  34. Gordie Hogg, Lib. South Surrey — White Rock: 1 contact (call) + email
  35. Ed Fast, Con. Abbotsford: 1 letter — reply received
  36. MLA Judy Darcy, New Westminster: 1 letter
  37. MLA Claire Trevina, Campbell River: 1 letter
  38. MLA Michelle Stillwell, Parksville—Qualicum: 1 letter

Summary

Approximately 110 BCRTA members have engaged in the Bill C27 Advocacy, most writing, calling, or visiting directly, others advocating in groups either visiting MPs or signing onto a common letter. In some cases, such as in the Wine Country Branch, estimates were made for this analysis when it was reported that “several members had contacted the ‘riding’ MP.” Contacts have been made with 34 MPs – including the Prime Minister and Finance Minister — and 3 MLAs.

Some contacts (4) were made by people other than BCRTA members; they asked that their action be noted in our file.

The following BC MPs, to our knowledge, have had no contact at all:

John Aldag, Lib. Cloverdale – Langley City
Randeep Sarai. Lib. Surrey Centre
Sukh Dhaliwal, Lib. Surrey – Newton
Hedy Fry, Lib. Vancouver Centre
Jody Wilson-Raybould, Lib. Vancouver-Granville
Don Davies. NDP. Vancouver- Kingsway
Harjit Sajjan, Lib. Vancouver South
Jati Sidhu. Lib. Mission – Matsqui – Fraser Canyon
Terry Beech. Lib. Burnaby North – Seymour
Mark Strahl, Con. Chilliwack –Hope
Mark Warawa, Con. Langley – Aldergrove
Jonathan Wilkinson, Lib. North Vancouver
Bob Zimmer, Con. Prince George – Peace River –Northern Rockies
Alice Wong. Con. Richmond Centre
Joe Peschisolido, Lib. Steveston –Richmond East
Garrison Randall, NDP. Esquimalt – Saanich – Sooke

Well-being Updates

The Well-Being committee will be providing four pages of articles for the spring edition of PostScript including one on the present disjointed BC Pharmacare program, one on senior recreation involving Pickle Ball, one on a personal experience showing the need for a will, and an article on the need to keep on top of eye health. The Well-Being Committee is also asking Branch Presidents, when practicable, to survey their membership to identify specific factors in their region that either help to support or are a detriment to the well-being of members and seniors. The Well-Being Committee deems it part of their role to advocate and advance areas that either need improvement or provide improvement to senior well-being.

As the Well-Being Committee we are also asking BCRTA members or people that our BCRTA members may know to contribute articles on Well-Being topics to us for publication in PostScript magazine.

The definition of well-being is a broad definition lending significant opportunities for our members and the readership of PostScript to assist our committee in our support of member health and well-being. The definition is as follows: Well-Being is defined as the interconnectedness of the physical, mental, material, emotional, social and spiritual health of the members of the BCRTA including the awareness of developments and issues relating to the well-being of retired teachers and seniors in general.

Contribution may be sent to:
Terry Green/Chair Well-Being Committee at terry.green@bcrta.ca or if you have questions please call at (250) 494 1406.

BCRTA Travel Offers from Collette

BCRTA Members Save 15% off a Collette Tour

Limited booking window is 12/26/17 – 1/13/18 for travel through 4/30/19

Applies to All Tours (excluding Icelands Magical Northern Lights, The Northern Lights of Finland and Alaska Discovery)

*Use offer code BOXINGDAY17 for 15% savings on your land tour. Offer is only available to BCRTA members by calling Collette directly at 800.468.5955 and is not available for online bookings. Offer valid on new retail bookings only made between 12/26/17 – 1/13/18 for travel between 12/26/17 – 4/30/19. Offers can expire earlier due to space or inventory availability. Space is limited and savings are only available on select departures. Space is on a first come, first served basis. Offers are not valid on group or existing bookings. Offer amounts vary by tour and departure date and is combinable with member benefits but not combinable with Hot Deal Offers during this booking window. Other restrictions may apply. Call 800.468.5955 for more details.

Preview Available Tours

Save on your next adventure with the BCRTA Members’ Advantage Program!

BCRTA Golden Star Awards

Target Pension Plans

Bill C-27 has been in the news lately as Canadians have come to understand the real threats to the sustainability of their pension plans. Bill C-27 will allow plan sponsors to reduce future pensions, even for pensioners already retired.

Please contact your local MP right now to express your opposition to this Bill. BCRTA has provided the following documents to assist you:

When you do make contact with your MP, please report your interaction to Laurie in the BCRTA office: laurie@bcrta.ca

Make others aware of this issue – you can use the links below to share on Facebook, Google+ or by email.