Letter: Private health care in public system

Hospital could generate revenue by charging 'rent' for the private use of their operating rooms … likely not utilized 24/7/365.

Health services sign

To the editor:

Re: Letter of the Week, Friday Sept. 16: Health Care Puts Quota on Hearing.

There are at least two potential solutions to the problem of Ms. Hubber’s two-year wait for ear surgery, solutions which would require significant political will on the part of the B.C. and Canadian governments.  They could allow Ms. Hubber’s employer or Ms. Hubber herself to pay for the surgery privately. Or they could allow all citizens of B.C. to purchase health insurance for such occasions and, again, access the necessary surgery privately.

First, have B.C. [Ministry of] Health insist that Dr. Lea (Ms. Hubber’s surgeon) perform the 35 surgeries per year that the government is willing to fund — that way no one in the public system is disadvantaged in any way. Then, allow Dr. Lea to perform as many surgeries as she wants while billing her patients directly.  This would obviously help the people paying privately and would shorten the wait-list for everyone else — all without draining resources from the public system.

According to Ms. Hubber, Dr. Lea is willing to perform more surgeries per year if that meant that she could help more patients regain their hearing.  Additionally, St. Paul’s Hospital could generate some much-needed revenue by charging ‘rent’ for the private use of their operating rooms, which are likely not utilized 24/7/365. They don’t have to change the entire Canadian health care system to try something new — just do a pilot for a year with one surgeon in one hospital with one case load and see if the sky falls in as a result. BC [Ministry of] Health likes to do things like out-source laundry and meal prep — let’s see if they’re willing to try something that would actually make a difference in taxpayers’ lives.

The problem is that, in Canada, many individuals and organizations prefer the status quo of our inefficient health care system for their own selfish reasons.  In the process, they muddy the dialogue by arguing at the top of their lungs about “American style health care” and the like.  While this noise and bluster scares our elected officials into inaction, people like Ms. Hubber, and thousands more like her, suffer needlessly.

Lloyd Vinish, Kelowna