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Commentary

An end to the party line
David Gratzer, Macleans.ca, 6-14-05

Gratzer, a Canadian physician and senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, reviews last week's decision by the Canadian Supreme Court invalidating Quebec provincial laws that made it illegal to purchase private health insurance. Gratzer concludes that, even though the decision only applied to Quebec, it will revolutionize Canadian health care:

Writing in their opinion, Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin and Justice John Major stated: "The evidence in this case shows that delays in the public health-care system are widespread, and that, in some serious cases, patients die as a result of waiting lists for public health care" (emphasis added). The wording is clear: Canada's medicare system can kill you...

What does the ruling really mean? Medicare defenders are quick to point out that it simply applies to Quebec. And that is true. But remember: in an age of jet travel, private health care anywhere in Canada effectively means that private health care is everywhere. For the Torontonian with a bad hip or a Winnipegger looking for cataract surgery, Quebec and its private option are just a plane ticket away.



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