Friday, January 19, 2007

Getting Stuck with the Bill

Death or liver transplant costing $450,000? In Canada, a patient decided and was stuck with the bill:
"This week's ruling was a blow for the 57-year-old retired high school teacher, who contracted hepatitis C from a tainted blood transfusion and was diagnosed with liver cancer in 1999. He spent $450,000 for a transplant in England after being denied the life-saving help in Ontario.

The court argued Flora's Charter rights were not violated when he was forced to choose between death or costly overseas treatment. The ruling, by a panel of three judges, also quashed his appeal of an earlier decision that refused to order the province to reimburse him.

The implications of this decision are far-reaching and can affect many throughout the province in life-threatening situations, said Flora's lawyer, Mark Freiman.

"It restricts the government's obligations in terms of providing heath care, especially life-saving health care," said Freiman, a former Deputy Attorney General of Ontario and expert on the Charter. "If the decision is upheld, it's not likely that people in a similar situation can require the government to assist them with providing life saving medical treatment.

"When government takes it upon itself to monopolize the provision of necessary medical care it has the responsibility to provide life-saving medical treatment."
With the political-correctness of providing health care to the uninsured, it will be interesting to see if similar precedents are forthcoming in the US.


No comments: