Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Public Health

Access to Care, Access to Justice: The Legal Debate over Private Health Insurance in Canada

Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Public Health

Access to Care, Access to Justice: The Legal Debate over Private Health Insurance in Canada

Article excerpt

Access to Care, Access to Justice: The Legal Debate over Private Health Insurance in Canada Colleen M. Flood, Kent Roach, Lorne Sossin (Eds.), Toronto, ON: University of Toronto Press, 2005; 611 pp., CAD$35

Access to Care, Access to Justice is a collection of papers from a conference, which focused on the Supreme Court of Canada?s Chaoulli decision in June 2005. In a narrow four-to-three decision, the supreme Court struck down Quebec law prohibiting the sale of private health insurance in public health insurance-covered service areas. The papers in the book explore the role that the judicial system may play in the social policy arena, and particularly the Chaoulli judgement?s impact on Canadian Medicare and beyond.

All authors were critical of the supreme Court?s decision in Chaoulli, but their approaches are different. The main criticisms to the court?s decision are: 1) the court should not have stepped into the policy arena; 2) the court should have endorsed a right to publicly funded health care; 3) the court failed to understand the different nature of public social insurance and private insurance; 4) the court failed to find the right solutions to the waiting time issue; and 5) the court did not foresee the possible consequences of health care access inequality if private insurance were to play a greater role in Canada. …

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