Fredericton refuses to close the door to health multinationals

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Fredericton refuses to close the door to multinational health companies

The Minister of Health rejected an amendment that sought to ban multinational clinics.

A bill that will allow the opening of private surgery clinics is causing concern in New Brunswick.

The Minister of Health has rejected an amendment that sought to ban multinational clinics.

Members of the New Brunswick Legislative Assembly debated Bill 3, which aims to allow the opening of private surgery clinics.

More specifically, it will allow the existence of the private cataract surgery clinic, the opening of which was announced in September in Bathurst.

According to several stakeholders, and according to two opposition parties, by legalizing the opening of clinics like the one in Bathurst, Bill 3 also legalizes the opening of private clinics by large national or international companies.

The leader of the official opposition, the Liberal Rob McKee, proposed an amendment to ban health multinationals, which Minister Bruce Fitch refused.

The Leader of the Official Opposition, the Liberal Rob McKee, therefore introduced a bill to prohibit this possibility. That's why I made an amendment, to close the loophole in the bill, which opens the door to privatization and outside companies to open their clinics.

Green Party Leader David Coon seconded this amendment. Liberals and Greens therefore tried to convince the Minister to support the provision that would prevent large foreign companies from opening private clinics in New Brunswick.

Except the Minister of Health, Bruce Fitch, refused. I can assure you that is not the intent of Bill 3.

Minister Bruce Fitch believes that it is not necessary to specify, in the law, that multinationals cannot open private clinics in New Brunswick. According to him, you simply have to rely on the two health networks, Vitalité and Horizon.

I guess that's impossible, because the health networks are the ones who make deals with the clinics or the doctors, and those doctors who do the surgeries have to be licensed here in the province of New Brunswick, have to have billing numbers, explains the Minister. new-brunswick-conservative-riverview.jpg” media=”(min-width: 0px) and (max-width: 99999px)”/>

Health Minister Bruce Fitch rejected an amendment that would have banned the opening of private clinics by multinationals.

Except that nothing in the bill prohibits health networks to negotiate contracts with multinationals.

Even if it is not the Minister's intention to go in this direction, the possibility seems very real, and that is what worries.

< p class="e-p">The bill that exists now is insufficient to provide a good legal context for negotiations between health networks and corporations in the future, says Green Party Leader David Coon.

Minister Fitch accuses the opposition of raising unfounded fears. I wish the opposition wouldn't speculate, cause that doubt, but again, I've been there [in the opposition], I know that's their job, a- he launched several times.

Yet the Liberals have made it clear that they support the idea of ​​the bill, as long as it does not open the door to multinational corporations.

Opening up to private clinics, without the limits that the opposition wanted, could lead to higher costs for health care, to the benefit of foreign companies, according to the head of the official opposition.

The price could increase for the province, to pay for these surgeries, because we know that in the private sector, the number one goal is to make a profit. With the public health system, the number one goal is the health of citizens, so if we go towards privatization, we risk paying more in the future, fears Rob McKee.

The leader of the Green Party, David Coon, says that an example of a clinic in Quebec shows, precisely, the path not to take. There are high costs for patients, and also an effort by the clinic to sell other private services, not just eye surgery, he laments.

New Brunswick Green Party Leader David Coon laments openness to the multinationals that Bill 3 would allow.

All of this is without taking into account the impact of the opening of private clinics on health human resources. According to Rob McKee, the private sector could become a competitor for professionals, such as nurses, whom the public network already has great difficulty recruiting and retaining.

There has a fear that health care workers will leave the public and go to these private clinics, which will put more pressure on our public system, so for us it should be something that is managed by the public system with a better collaboration with hospitals and different clinics that are already in existence, says Rob McKee.

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