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Bradley Rose, Senior Designer | October 10, 2007
The Parliament Building
in Victoria,
British Columbia.
Funding healthcare, specifically capping the number of monthly MRIs allowed in public facilities, has become something of a cause celebre in Vancouver Island, British Columbia.

The Vancouver Island Health Authority is apparently limiting the number of monthly MRI scans in public hospitals because it doesn't have enough money to meet the demand. Although the Health Authority's budget has risen 3 1/2 % annually since 2002, it's not, say local critics, nearly enough to keep pace with inflation and population growth.

Local health associations, meanwhile, have chimed in, suggesting the VIHA's rationing approach raises two key issues: delays in scheduling an MRI inevitably add to long term costs because patients' conditions worsen as they wait. Furthermore, the situation just encourages the expansion of two-tier health care since those who can afford it simply schedule the MRI at a private facility.

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British Columbia's two main health authorities, Fraser and Vancouver Coastal, have already acknowledged that they do not have enough funds to
handle the demands of the population they serve. So there's little prospect of relief save for the tried and true: government looks to the citizenry and raises taxes.

Local health advocates back such a solution. What's more, it seems as if provincial residents, according to local polling, are prepared to absorb a tax hike provided the government actually delivers improved healthcare. And that includes a patient getting an MRI when needed and not waiting for the check to clear.