Province has failed to fill health care gap

Here is where our province has stealthily instituted two-tier health care, without our consent.

And here we are again. Or should we say, here we are still.

We are extremely disappointed in and even angry with our provincial government(s) current and past that have failed, utterly and completely, to fix this problem.

Last week we reported on teenager Natalie Williams and her fundraising efforts so that she can have a life-saving liver transplant.

Say what? What about our public health care system, where we are so proud of the fact that you don’t have to have money in order to get the treatment you need — one would think especially if the procedure is something you need or you will die?

Here ladies and gentlemen, is where our penny-pinching province has stealthily instituted two-tier health care, without our consent.

Williams was born with biliary atresia, a liver disease. Now 19, she was bumped up the transplant list because her medical situation is deteriorating.

So far, so good. But Williams cannot have the transplant here in Duncan, so she and her family must travel to a larger centre. And that cost falls squarely on the family, to the tune of $15,000, as she must remain near the medical facility for some time after her procedure.

Williams isn’t the first from the Cowichan Valley to face this problem. We’ve written about several others whose lives will not be saved unless they can pony up the cash, notably Tammy Walker, who needed a double lung transplant in 2014.

The province will pay, you see, if you are completely destitute. But if you’ve got a nickel to your name, you’re expected to cough it up (along with your regular MSP premiums, of course) into the coffers of B.C.’s health system.

This is an appalling betrayal of the basic tenets of our universal health care system. At its very foundation is the collective belief that you don’t need a big bank account to save your life.

The province has chosen to centralize certain services, making it harder for those outside of urban centres to access them. They should have to pay for the consequences of that centralization — and those costs include the travel they’re forcing on these poor families.

Our challenge to B.C.’s next government is this: will you finally fix it?