For the first time, the Canadian Constitution Foundation is making available in one place the full expert reports of all the expert witnesses who have testified to date in the constitutional challenge for healthcare freedom and patient choice, currently underway in British Columbia.
The reports, by some of Canada’s and the world’s foremost experts on health economics, healthcare policy, and comparative healthcare policy are a treasure trove of data, facts, and personal experiences of the crisis facing Canada’s healthcare system and how other developed countries have avoided the abnormally long wait times we see in Canada. It is an invaluable resource for anyone interested in reporting on this landmark constitutional challenge.
For example, linked below is the expert report (in two parts) of Dr. Daniel Kessler of Stanford Law School and Stanford Medical School. Dr. Kessler, who has a J.D. from Stanford Law School and a Ph.D in Economics from M.I.T., is one of the world’s leading healthcare experts. His expert testimony concluded that:
There is overwhelming and irrefutable evidence of harm to the physical and mental health of BC residents from waiting for health services.
The likely effect of allowing private financing and dual practice in BC would be to improve the well-being of those who continue to receive publicly-financed care.
There is no persuasive empirical evidence that allowing private financing and dual practice would affect equity, and certainly not persuasive empirical evidence to support the hypothesis that allowing them would harm it.
Allowing for-profit medical facilities to operate in BC would likely have either a null or positive effect on quality.
Dr. Kessler’s report is available here (Part 1, 2).
The full reports from the following experts are also available.
Professor Michael Bliss, testified on September 19 – 20, 2016. (Report).
Nadeem Esmail, testified on September 20 – 23, 2016. (Report).
John McGurran, testified on October 12, 2016. (Report).
Professor Ake Blomqvist, testified on November 4, 2016. (Report).
Dr. Albert Schumacher, testified on November 17, 2016. (Report).
Dr. Robert Hollinshead, testified on November 29 – 30, 2016. (Part 1, 2, 3, 4)
Yanick Labrie, testified on December 5 – 6, 2016. (Report).
Professor Alistair McGuire, testified January 24 and 26, 2017. (Report)
About the case:
Cambie Surgeries Corporation et al. v. Medical Services Commission et al. is a constitutional challenge currently underway in British Columbia to bring patient choice to Canada’s healthcare system. The goal is to help patients suffering on long and growing wait lists by allowing them to take control of their own healthcare and get the timely treatment that is their right under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms’ guarantee of life, liberty, and security of the person.
In the 2005 case of Chaoulli v. Quebec, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the rights of Quebec residents were violated by provincial laws that forced citizens to wait for healthcare, while denying them the right to access care outside of the government system. All Canadians should have the same protection. But, despite the fact that three Supreme Court justices found that Quebec’s restrictions on access to private healthcare violated the federal Charter, Chaoulli was ultimately decided on the narrower grounds of the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms, so the ruling was confined to that province.
If the plaintiffs in this case succeed, patients in British Columbia currently suffering physical pain, mental anguish, and financial hardship while waiting on long wait lists will be able to take control of their own health and use private health insurance to pay for treatment for their medically-necessary health services with the doctor of their choice in a timely fashion. The Supreme Court was clear in Chaoulli: if a province has failed in its obligation to provide timely healthcare to all its residents within the public healthcare system, then it cannot prohibit suffering patients from accessing that care privately. That is the principle the plaintiffs are fighting for in this case.
For more information about the case, please go to yourhealthcantwait.ca