In September 2016, a case went to trial in British Columbia that seeks to test the constitutionality of provincial laws that (1) ban private health insurance for medically necessary hospital and physician services; (2) ban extra-billing (physicians cannot charge patients more than the public tariff); and (3) require physicians to work solely for the public system or ‘opt-out’ and practice privately. All provinces have similar laws that have been passed to meet the requirements of federal legislation, the Canada Health Act (and thus qualify for federal funds). Consequently, a finding of unconstitutionality of one or more of these laws could have a very significant impact on the future of Canada’s single-payer system (‘medicare’). ….
As published in Health Economics, Policy and Law Volume 13, Special Issue 3-4 (SPECIAL ISSUE: Canadian Medicare: Historical Reflections, Future Directions)