Lunch N' Learn: It's time to end extra-billing

In session two of Visions and Solutions, a BC Health Coalition Lunch N' Learn series, we learn about the current state of unlawful extra-billing in BC, its impact on our health system, and what it’s going to take to end our reliance on for-profit companies that undermine our health care system.

Dr. Saad Ahmed, board member of Canadian Doctors for Medicare, shares some background on extra-billing and the history of physician-led opposition to extra-billing protections. Health Policy Researcher Andrew Longhurst dives into the most recent data about extra-billing in BC, the province's responses to date, and the risks of entrenching private clinics in BC's health care. 

The privatization of health care services has expanded in BC over the last seven years. For-profit health care companies are on the rise and continue unlawful extra-billing practices. Recent numbers reported by Health Canada show that in 2021-22, BC saw $18 million in out of pocket charges to patients for medically necessary services that should be accessible at no costs.

Extra-billing violates the principles of the Canada Health Act as well as the BC Medicare Protection Act. The landmark Cambie Case, which concluded in 2023, reaffirmed that extra-billing is harmful to our public health care system. It allows people who have the means to pay out of pocket to jump the queue for medically necessary procedures. It also costs taxpayers because the federal government withholds Canada Health Transfers dollar for dollar based on the amount of extra-billing.

With the cost of living at an all-time high and our health care costs also on the rise, it’s time for BC to put an end to illegal extra-billing.

Watch the recording

If you've been extra-billed

You should report a case of extra-billing to the provincial government using the Billing Integrity Program Complaint form. 

Learn more

Slide-deck: Extra-billing in BC (Longhurst, 2024)

Visit our Anti-Privatization issues page. 

Landmark health care case spotlights problems of a profit-centred system (Longhurst et al., Policy Note, 2023)

At What Cost? Ontario Hospital Privatization and the Threat to Public Health Care (Longhurst, CCPA-ON, 2023)

Canada Health Act Annual Report 2022-2023 (Health Canada,2024)

Canada Health Transfer Deductions and Reimbursements –March 2024 (Health Canada, March 21, 2024)