Canada: Ban on private insurance

Canada's Supreme Court on Thursday struck down a &to=http:// ' target=_blank>Quebec law that banned private insurance for services covered under Medicare, a landmark decision that could affect the country's universal health-care system.

The justices have taken a year to rule on a case that began in 1997, when George Zeliotis, an elderly Montreal men, tried to pay for hip replacement surgery rather than wait nearly a year for treatment at a public hospital.

Zeliotis told the high court that he suffered pain and became addicted to &to=http:// 19/94/377/15353_arthritis.html ' target=_blank>painkillers during the yearlong wait for hip replacement surgery, and he should have been allowed to pay for faster service with private insurance.

Opponents of changes to Medicare claimed it could force Canada into a two-tiered health care system in which those who have deeper pockets get faster, better service from doctors who opt out of the public health-care program, publishes the Forbes.

According to Bloomberg, the Supreme Court of Canada overturned a lower court ruling in a 6-3 decision. The ban violates Quebec's constitution by denying people vital health care and putting their lives in jeopardy, the high court said today.

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