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Doctors at several Canadian hospitals routinely accepted bribes from patients to expedite surgeries in publicly funded health care

Monday, March 19, 2012 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
Tags: surgeons, bribes, hospitals

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(NaturalNews) One of the major pitfalls of government-run universal health care is long waiting lists for patients who require involved procedures, a situation that often devolves into a "black market" of medical care where patients willing and able to fork over large cash sums are able to move to the front of the line for medical procedures. And this is precisely what has been taking place in Montreal, Canada, where doctors have allegedly been charging patients thousands of dollars in secret fees in order for them to gain priority in receiving medical care.

In Canada, it is prohibited for doctors to charge patients for procedures that are covered under the nation's universal, taxpayer-funded health care system. But The Gazette reports that Montreal's Royal Victoria Hospital (RVH) is currently the center of a controversy involving a surgeon who has reportedly charged several individuals $10,000 cash sums to receive bariatric surgery, also known as gastric bypass surgery, earlier than the normal system would have allowed.

With a waiting list of up to ten years for bariatric surgery at some area hospitals, desperate patients who are told they have less than a year to live, for instance, are working out financial deals with doctors in secret in exchange for priority medical care. In essence, those who can afford to pay their way to better quality medical care are receiving preference above those who cannot pay, a corrupt system that is ironically much worse than the U.S. private insurance-based hybrid system that proponents of publicly-funded health care often reference in support of the universal care model.

The health care black market in Canada is not confined just to bariatric surgery, either, as some doctors have now made it a routine practice to only show up for surgeries, birth deliveries, and other important procedures if patients are willing to pay them a cash sum upfront. And in some cases, doctors still fail to show up even after being paid for these procedures, which is precisely what happened to Francois Gauthier last year when she tried to purchase cancer surgery outside the Medicare system for her ailing mother.

"It would be great if we could have it done here, without having to pay and without having to wait so long," said Lisa Petroziello to Global Montreal about her situation trying to get bariatric surgery in Quebec. Fed up with waiting endlessly for care, which was putting her own life at risk, she finally decided to fly to Mexico and have the procedure done there instead for $8,000. "People pay for surgery because they don't want to die waiting for it."

Why Ron Paul's free-market health care plan is the answer to the health care crisis

Rather than follow the pattern of Canada and much of Europe in implementing socialist health care mandates that obviously destroy the quality of health care, the U.S. would do best to move in the opposite direction by eliminating such medical tyranny and restoring freedom of health care choice for all. As Representative Ron Paul (R-Tex.) puts it:

"[E]xcessive regulation, immoral mandates, and short-sighted incentives have created a system where no one is happy, doctors pass quickly from one patient to the next, insurance is expensive to get and difficult to maintain, and politicians place corporate interests ahead of their constituents [...] the key to effective and efficient medical care is the doctor-patient relationship."

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