Independent media needs you. Join the Tyee.


The Hook: Political news, freshly caught

Spend more on sickest, discuss private health care: Stilwell

Spending more on the sickest patients would save British Columbia's health care system money overall, Liberal leadership candidate Moira Stilwell said today.

She also called for better integrating private and public health care, improving care in rural and northern B.C. and making more effort to treat people with mental illnesses.

"As a doctor, I know that early detection of disease radically increases the chances of survival, by allowing us to intervene and treat," Stilwell said in a speech that was to be delivered in Prince George this morning. "We need to bring this same rigour to public policy. Early detection of those things that aren’t working allows us to intervene and make changes."

By spending more money treating people with chronic diseases better, the system will save money, Stilwell said. "A poorly managed chronic disease is like setting off a chain of dominoes," she said. "It usually ends up with the patient having a number of chronic diseases, spending a lot of time in emergency rooms, and then in acute care beds, and then eventually in long term care beds. All of these services are amongst the most expensive ones we provide."

She suggested relying less on doctors and integrating other practitioners into the system better. "Patients with chronic diseases need assistance that goes beyond medicine," she said. "They need help with fitness, diet, complying with treatment, accessing services and many other things."

Stilwell also said people need to realize there are already many private health care providers doing business in the province, some of whom are paid out of public funds and some of whom are paid privately. She also noted the Chahouli Supreme Court decision out of Quebec suggests "private care in some way is here to stay."

Patients treated privately often end up in the public system for follow up or when they have complications, she said. "What we have right now is a private health care system that has the public system as its safety net. I think that is a pretty compelling reason to start a real dialogue about what kind of private care our public health care system can afford."

The full text of Stilwell's speech is available here.

The Tyee reported today that Liberal leadership candidate Ed Mayne would like to "blow up" the health care system and rebuild it from scratch, while the two former health ministers in the race are yet to release detailed positions on health care.

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Reach him here.

What have we missed? What do you think? We want to know. Comment below. Keep in mind:


  • Verify facts, debunk rumours
  • Add context and background
  • Spot typos and logical fallacies
  • Highlight reporting blind spots
  • Ignore trolls
  • Treat all with respect and curiosity
  • Connect with each other

Do not:

  • Use sexist, classist, racist or homophobic language
  • Libel or defame
  • Bully or troll
  • Troll patrol. Instead, flag suspect activity.
comments powered by Disqus