Health care should not be for profit

Businesses take advantage of the system to profit from the sick.

Dear editor,

Premier Clark announced on April 26 this year that the government has approved the North Island Hospitals Project to build two new hospitals on the North Island. The current plan is that they will be P3s, Public-Private Partnerships.

The plan is that through Partnerships BC, the government will award a contract to design, finance, build, and maintain the hospitals until about 2047. Regardless of changes of government, changes in medical practice, unforeseen health care needs, etc., virtually everything but nursing care will be delivered by private contractors for the next 30 years.

P3 backers argue that the beauty of handing over the financing to a private partner is that the private finance company “takes the risk”. Not true. Whether the government borrows or some global multinational borrows, it is the people of B.C., through our taxes, who pay.  Governments get better loan rates from banks to cover the capital cost of building and purchasing equipment for hospitals so if the government borrows we pay less.

Since 2008, banks and financiers are pulling out of P3 financing. The new Fort St. John Hospital, which started out with great fanfare as 90 per cent private and 10 per cent public, ended up, very quietly, being about 10 per cent private and 90 per cent public. So much for the financing advantage.

The argument for handing over control of the physical operation and other aspects of running a hospital for 30 years is that the private companies involved are “on the hook” for problems that arise and the contracts provide “penalties” for poor performance. In practice, once the contracts are signed (think about those 30 years), health authorities and governments have had a very hard time renegotiating to meet new needs or to enforce penalties.

VIHA (Vancouver Island Health Authority), at the end of a five-year food service contract with Compass in 2011, thought it had solved the problem of widespread complaints of poor quality food by awarding the new five-year contract to a new company, Marquise. But within a month Compass had bought Marquise and there was apparently nothing VIHA could do about it.

The 30-year contract, not the capital financing, is what makes these P3s lucrative for the monopolies, and their lawyers. In 2009 forensic accountants Ron Parks and Rosanne Terhart reported that in all cases, P3s cost substantially more over the life of the contract than public projects. Their in-depth study of the Diamond Centre showed that  “…the Diamond Centre (at Vancouver General Hospital) will cost $203 million over the life of the contract as compared to a cost of $89 million had the project been publicly delivered – a difference of nearly 130 per cent”.

That’s $114 million that could have gone to patient care if the hospital was publicly run.

Health care is a right that must be provided for all based on need, not ability to pay. Public funds must be used for health care, not to enrich the owners and shareholders of the consortia that would run the P3 hospitals. Health care and profits don’t mix. If the success of your business is based on increasing profits for the shareholders, anything that hurts profits results in cuts — cuts to services, cuts to staff, cuts to health care.

There is no reason the North Island Hospitals should be P3s and a million reasons that they should not!

Lois Jarvis, Campbell River

Barbara Biley, Comox

Citizens for Quality Health Care

Just Posted

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

Things are looking up for Vancouver Island as zero COVID-19 cases have been reported for the first time since October. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Island records zero new COVID-19 cases for the first time since October

For the first time since October, the province is reporting zero new… Continue reading

Black Press Media file
Port Hardy RCMP on the hunt for porta-pottie arsonist

The porta-potties were lit on fire early in the morning on June 13

Eke Me-Xi students enjoy a field trip to Malcolm Island. (Submitted photos)
Eke Me-Xi Learning Centre takes field trip to Malcolm Island

Once at Bere Point, students made themselves at home in the day-use area

Mount Waddington Regional Fall Fair logo
Mount Waddington Regional Fall Fair cancelled again due to COVID-19 restrictions

The 2022 fall fair is still scheduled to take place in Port Hardy

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Karl and Stephanie Ann Johanson were thrilled to spot a pair of Sandhill Cranes in the Panama Flats this month, an unusual appearance for such birds. (Photo by Stephanie Ann Johanson)
WATCH: Sandhill cranes an unusual, joyful sight in South Island parkland

These birds don’t often touch down on their way between northern B.C. and Mexico

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

(V.I. Trail/Google Maps)
Now 90% complete, Vancouver Island trail forges new funding parnership

Victoria Foundation takes on Vancouver Island Trail Association; fund valued at $40,000

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

Freighters have becomd abundant in the Trincomali Channel on the east side of Thetis Island.
Nanaimo ponders taking on waste from nearby anchored freighters

Vancouver-based Tymac petitioning the Regional District of Nanaimo to accept waste at its landfill

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Most Read