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Patients have right to pay for care: lawyer

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VANCOUVER—A lawyer arguing in favour of a two-tier health-care system in British Columbia says the government can't legally justify preventing patients from paying private doctors to alleviate their suffering sooner than the public system could provide treatment.

Peter Gall began his closing arguments yesterday in a decade-long constitutional challenge of the Medicare Protection Act of B.C. as lead plaintiff Dr. Brian Day, CEO of Cambie Surgical Corp., looked on from the gallery.

“If you cannot provide timely service to everyone, you cannot prohibit anyone from going outside the system for private care,” Gall told B.C. Supreme Court Justice John Steeves.

It's entirely within the provincial government's constitutional purview to make policy decisions about how the public health-care system is delivered.

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