Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Private clinics coming to Saskatchewan

The birth place of "medicare" is in for a real shock as the Coperman chain of private health clinics is planning to set up shop in Regina and Saskatoon.

From CJME:

Private Health Care is coming soon to a major city near you, including Regina and Saskatoon.

Copeman Health Care is determined to have private clinics established across the country within two years. Founder and CEO Don Copeman set up shop in Vancouver last fall, and is about to have three more in Ontario this year.

Sask Health is still researching the operation, before commenting on whether it will allow it. Copeman says he looks forward to discussions with the department, but adds he doesn't see any legislation that could block an operation offering services that aren't insured by private health care.

This is going to get really interesting. This is the province where the Minister of Health urged NDP supporters to call all their relatives who left Saskatchewan to get jobs and tell them to "say no" to Ralph Klein's health reforms. To date, no meaningful reforms have taken place in Alberta. The real action is in BC, Ontario and Quebec. But the Premier of Alberta makes a great straw man for healthscare crowd -- much like George Bush does for certain political parties.

I expect a pitched battle on this issue. Not necessarily from the government (they might choose to stay above the fray), but from organized labour. The argument will be made that private hospitals will draw away much-needed nurses and doctors from the under-staffed hospitals. The problem is that this is already happening. For example, nearly a the third of our newly-graduated orthopedic surgeons practice in the United States. And we're talking about the cream of the crop. To a large extent Canada is left with the "average" surgeons.

Private hospitals with their flexible hours and near limitless OR time will actually keep our best and brightest surgeons in Canada and the same goes for GPs and nurses. It will also cut wait times for the public system.

We look forward to a healthy debate on this.


Chad Moats said...

As a union supporter, I feel there is a good middle ground on this issue. Allow private delivery of services in the areas that private interests wish to operate with the proviso that the procedure will be insured by health care and that the employer must allow his employees to join the appropriate union.

TimR said...

Healthy debate? Good one.

I wouldn't count on a healthy debate. There are just too many that get hysterical.

Shawn said...

What about those employees not wishing to join a union?

John Murney said...

This will be very interesting, indeed!

Chad Moats said...

Like any time a union organizes a shop, a majority of employees signing a union card. Like the law states.

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