Opting out


Opting Out

In British Columbia, it technically IS possible to “opt out” of the Medical Services Plan.  I found this surprising, given that it seems to be a fundamental assumption within the immigration process that this is not an option.

So, here’s my question: if you can opt out for a year, why not allow someone to opt out for 5 or 10 years?  Is this not a “reasonable accommodation” for someone with a disability?  It doesn’t seem as if it would be onerous on the government to implement such a (binding) scheme, although I suppose that doesn’t prevent one from moving to a different Province.

Of course, the “move between provinces” argument isn’t one I’ve seen used (after all, I could have said “I’m going to Ontario” and then decided after a month that I wanted to “go to Vancouver” and nobody would have noticed or cared.)

I’m going to ask my attorney about this, because in everything that I’ve read “public healthcare” is expressed as a right.  Of course, so is “not taking an HIV test involuntarily” and yet you have to agree to take one for immigration.  So, why not make taking a ten year “opt out” be sufficient?  In that way, you’ll have ten years of paying into the system without taking anything out.

And, lest you wonder, it is possible to buy private health insurance to live in Canada – I know, I’ve researched it.  Finding a policy that will cover you with a pre-existing condition is even possible, but such policies have substantial limitations upon them.  In the case of HIV, they generally cap their coverage and do not cover prescription drugs.

Of course, as I pointed out in my own report (the one that CIC seemed to ignore,) anyone in that position would figure out a way to order the drugs via an offshore pharmacy – why pay 10x the cost for the same chemicals if you can avoid it?  While we can argue the morality of such a decision (cheating those poor starving, struggling pharmaceutical companies) for an individual forced to pay out-of-pocket it is still the prudent decision.


2 thoughts on “Opting out

  1. Hi
    Do you think one can show this option to the visa officer .Are there any chances against inadmissibility then?

    • In the end it is a judgement call so there is never a guarantee. Plus, for medical inadmissibility cases the decision making is split between the medical officer and the visa officer. The medical officer can reach a negative conclusion, in which case it is the visa officer’s job to ensure that the medical officer’s rationale for the decision is clear and meets the requirements of procedural fairness. A blanket refusal (“applicant has X medical condition and thus is inadmissible”) would not meet that standard. If you present a strong argument it does put a burden on the officers to explain how they reached their decision.

      It is also possible for the visa officer to overrule the medical officer, though I’ve never heard of that actually happening. But suppose your entire case is about mitigation. The medical officer could ignore the mitigation plan entirely (or mostly, as they did in my case). Then the visa officer could decide to issue the visa in spite of the medical officer’s opinion on the basis that the mitigation plan is sufficient to overcome the M5 decision of the medical officer. As I said, while theoretically possible I’ve never heard of it actually happening that way.

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