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MD group to challenge two-tier medicare

The Canadian Press

Saturday, May 27, 2006

OTTAWA - A new organization representing pro-medicare doctors has been founded to challenge advocates of two-tier health care including their own professional organization, the Canadian Medical Association.

Canadian Doctors for Medicare will be launched at a news conference Monday "to advocate for the preservation of publicly funded health care in Canada" according to a statement by the group's founders.

The debate over two-tier health care has intensified since the Chaouilly judgment last year, in which the Supreme Court struck down Quebec's ban on private health insurance.

Following that judgment, the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) came out in favour of a parallel, private health system at its annual meeting last year. It also nominated Brian Day, one of the country's most vocal advocates of two-tier care, to serve as its president.

The new organization says it fears the public will become discouraged and give up on medicare.

"The debate over health-care funding and delivery will be lost or won in the minds and hearts of the Canadian public," reads their mission statement. "The message to the public is clear: Medicare represents sound public policy, is rooted in Canadian values, is supported by the public and is readily sustainable. In physicians' terms, medicare is good for your health."

Under CMA rules it would be possible for pro-medicare doctors to challenge Day's nomination at the annual meeting. But he said in an interview Friday he isn't worried.

"I'm very confident that my philosophy represents the views of the vast majority of doctors in this country and in fact the vast majority of patients. I would like to see the percentage of private-sector involvement up from its current level," said Day.

 The Edmonton Journal 2006