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Allowing people to buy diagnostic tests from private providers doesn’t lengthen wait times in the public system, nor does it restrict access to it in any way.

It not a new position. Nor is it a particularly compelling one, especially since it based largely on old, ideologically driven ideas about how health care services should be delivered in the province.

But it become the center of debate again after two clinics in Manitoba announced in 2017 that they plan to sell diagnostic tests directly to the public.

The NDP/union opposition to private diagnostic clinics has nothing to do with preserving services in public health care. Allowing people to buy diagnostic tests from private providers doesn lengthen wait times in the public system, nor does it restrict access to it in any way. In fact, those who use their own after tax dollars to buy those services privately are taking themselves off the public wait list, providing relief to the taxpayer funded system.

It a win win situation, really.

So if allowing people to buy diagnostic tests directly from private clinics doesn harm the public system and can only help to alleviate pressure overall, why are the NDP and the unions so opposed to it?

There no rational answer to that question because their opposition to it is based entirely on socialist ideology. And even then, that ideology is so inconsistently applied when it comes to health care, the contradictions that arise from it make a mockery of their position.

For example, NDP leader Wab Kinew says one of the reasons he opposed to private diagnostic clinics is because the companies that plan to provide the services stand to make a profit from it. He says there no room for profit in Manitoba health care system.

That position is problematic, and it represents one of the many contradictions inherent in the NDP position on this. That because the province health care system is full of profit. Government contracts with all kinds of service and supply companies who like any other private sector company operate on profits.

Private doctors offices and walk in clinics operate on profit. They bill government for the services they provide and whatever is left over after they pay staff and cover their overhead is profit. That how they make a living. Pharmacies operate on profit. As do blood test and x ray clinics that contract with government. Companies are profiting from publicly funded health care every day. That what makes it work.

And it not just those who contract with government that make profits from the health care industry. Physiotherapists, chiropractors, optometrists, dentists and orthodontists all earn profits from health care, most of whom either bill patients directly or charge private, for profit insurance companies for their services.

So if the NDP were truly opposed to private diagnostic clinics because they make a profit and/or because patients or their insurance companies pay directly for the service, they would have to be opposed to how the services above are provided. But they aren Ergo, the contradiction.

What society should be focused on when it comes to health care is not whether someone can buy a medical service with their own money if they choose to. The focus should be on ensuring that those who need health care services can get it, regardless of their income. That what real universal health care is all about. It not about restricting choice. It about giving the public as many options as possible to get the medical attention they need. Universal health care is not about making government the sole provider of health care services. And it not about making grandstanding statements about how there no room for profit in health care, or that no one should be allowed to get quicker access because they paid for it.
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