Some things just need to be said...

Monday, January 16, 2006

Senator Kirby, Dangerous to your health care

See Medical Skidder - after this

How many Canadians know Senator Kirby? How many know he is a major player in For Profit Health Care delivery? How many know the power he wields and how he has exercised that power?
What's his connection to the future of Healthcare and how does he have the ear of Stephen Harper, Ralph Klein, Gordon Campbell and Jean Charest.

Why is it important during this election?

This is the first post to introduce you to the man and the issue of private for profit health care and how some very powerful people are conspiring to turn Medicare over to the private sector.

Senator Kirby is the proverbial wolf in sheep's clothing. He is the most under estimated threat to Canada's health care system. Sure he is only a Senator, we all know what Canadians think of them. You would be wrong.

Senator Kirby works the backrooms of an elite group of politicians and big business. He is a wealthy man with a vested interest in health care and its not the same interest you or I have.

Senator Kirby is a senior member of the Board of Directors of Extendicare Inc., a for-profit health corporation that also owns a major home care division called ParaMed. And Extendicare holds a 35% share in Crown Life Insurance.

Extendicare is now strongly positioned in both the United States and Canada as a leading provider of nursing and assisted living care.They operate over 440 homes, which can accommodate more than 34,000 residents. As well, through its operations in the United States, Extendicare offers medical specialty services such as post-acute care and rehabilitative therapy services, while home health care services are provided in Canada through ParaMed.

Kirby is also on the board of directors of The Bank of Nova Scotia, CPI Plastics Group Ltd, Indigo Books & Music Inc., Energy Savings Income Fund, MDC Partners Inc., and Brainhunder Inc.

The graphic to the left is off Extendicare's range of operations. It is from a slide show for investors Equity Presentation at Merrill Lynch Health Services Investor Conference November 30, 2005 Click Here to view the slide presentation

The company was founded in Canada in 1968 and in 1975 the Company owned 20 nursing homes in Canada (they own over 440 today).They launched ParaMed Home Health Care in 1975 - now Canada's largest private home care provider.

The Conservative Mike Harris government in Ontario granted Extendicare contracts to build and operate 11 facilities and public private partnerships with 5 hospitals. The Ontario government then saw a glut of new for profit care homes for some time resulting in today's government providing Extendicare and others, subsidies for empty beds. In addition Extendicare received approximately $5 million for upgrading some facilities and installing lifts. This is a for profit health care company receiving government hand outs.

The holdings of Senator Kirby and Extendicare Inc. include Crown Life.

Its with this background, which is by no means complete that I point you to the what appears to be one of the more disingenuous efforts of any Canadian politician to save healthcare.

Senator Kirby produced a report under the auspice of the aforementioned Senate, the place where the elite are placed to lord over the House of Commons.

One requires a great deal of skepticism when reading Kirby's report. Kirby is not an innocent bystander.

Now it is really important for people to know here that Senator Kirby does not open meetings or discussions with others like this... "I have a vested financial interest in seeing the growth of private for profit health care and this should be taken into consideration as you listen to what I have to say about saving our public health care system in Canada." If he did chances are you would not listen to long to what he had to say. I guess that is why he doesn't do this.

Kirby's report lists options to expand for-profit delivery of publicly insured services, including hospitals and clinics, based on Alberta's Bill 11 model without any evidence that it saves money or reduces waiting lists. At this point do you understand why Kirby was in a serious conflict of Interest. The big media in this country did not go after him on this. Think Extendicare and ParaMed.

See the Canadian Health Coalition report on Kirby and his report. After his report Senator Kirby sought to be ainterveneror in the Chaoulli case in Quebec.

"Joining the case to ask the Supreme Court to open the door to a full-fledged private health insurance system in Canada is a group of 10 senators, led by Michael Kirby and a group of for-profit health corporations."
Now how does one get away with this. He is a Senator. Who is he most responsible too or can he serve two masters. It's a full court press people. Senator Kirby has a fiduciary responsibility to his company Extendicare, he is a member of the board of directors, yet he sees nothing wrong with acting in his role as a Senator on this matter. If a member of the House of Commons did this there would be hell to pay and he would be tossed out. Of course we can't toss a Senator.

The plaintiffs in the case were Jacques Chaoulli, a doctor, and his patient, George Zeliotis. They alleged that the lack of timely access to provincially insured health care services, coupled with legislative restrictions on access to private care, amounted to a violation of section 7 of the Charter. This argument was rejected in two lower courts in Quebec. Other parties supporting the case included: Cambie Surgeries Corporation, Specialty MRI Clinics Inc, B.C; Canadian Medical Association and Canadian Orthopaedic Association, and a numbered company (411044 Canada Inc.) associated with physicians employed at UBC.

We all know the result of the case that went to the Supreme Court. In a nutshell the court said if the public system cannot provide the care in a timely fashion, then the individual can use the private sector. Privatizers and profiteers were jumping for joy. The decision of course was a sharp warning from the Supreme Court. It was saying to the federal and provincial governments, "get your act together".

Now you may be surprised to know that Stephen Harper and the Conservatives have committed to the "business case" for reshaping our health care system as outlined by Mr. Kirby's report.

It's ironic to say the least, one of those funny little things that happens, that the Conservatives passed the Liberals in daily polling and stayed ahead on January 3, 2006 and just six days later ...

On January 9, 2006 analysts were rating Extendicare as a buy, "Extendicare Inc. (EXE/SV CN): The provider of medical specialty services in the U.S., the U.K. and Canada was rated "buy'' in a new coverage initiated by analyst Shameze Rampertab at Jennings Capital. The 12-month share price forecast is C$23."

Jennings Capital is saying that Extendicare Inc should increase a minimum in value of 32% within a year. Tomorrow I will address Stephen Harper and the Conservatives plan to reduce waitlists.

See Medical Skidder here, lets call it part 2

Election, Canada, Politics, Conservative Party of Canada, Stephen Harper, ,

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