Expert Touts Private Care

Commentary, Frontier Centre, Healthcare, Media Appearances

Dr. Jacques Chaoulli was at the Regina Inn on Tuesday to advocate privatized health care in Canada.

Chaoulli made history in a Supreme Court decision against the Quebec government in 2005, when the court ruled that one of his patients was denied the Charter right to “life, liberty and security of the person.”

The decision was a major stepping stone in Chaoulli’s battle against private health-care restrictions.

“Dr. Chaoulli is a Canadian hero. A hero is somebody who goes out of their way to help somebody and I think taking a court case for eight years to help one of your patients is more than we expect from most of our doctors,” said David Seymour, director of the Frontier Centre for Public Policy — which hosted Chaoulli’s lecture.

“Regardless of your view on how health care should be, you’ve got to accept that the legal basis for health care has changed.”

Chaoulli started reacting against the health-care system in 1994 when he was employed as a house-call doctor in Montreal. He was fined by the government for charging his patients directly, which led him to go on a four-week hunger strike in 1996 to protest the restrictions against private health care.

“My goal at that time was to stay in medicare and do my best to help patients who cannot leave their houses . . . The medical union didn’t like it and I took the side of the patient since that time,” said Chaoulli.

Countries such as Australia, New Zealand and France have private health-care businesses that run alongside the public health-care sector, which is what Chaoulli has been lobbying the provincial and federal governments to consider since 1992.

“I suggest that not only is it moral but a moral obligation to help that person who has money in their pocket to use his money and to get fast access to health care as long as it doesn’t bother another person,” said Chaoulli.

Chaoulli used Christian values to explain his notion of morality although he admitted to not being a religious person himself.

“(Christians) say you should feel sorry when you see somebody suffering and second you should feel happy if another person becomes happy,” said Chaoulli in reference to people paying for private health care.

The only negative outcomes Chaoulli foresees with implementing privatized health care would be a shortage of health-care professionals due to the government’s failing to regulate the number of doctors who are employed in each sphere.