Earlier, we reported Gordon Campbell's brother-in-law Les Vertesi, an advocate of parallel private healthcare, would be joining the premier's European mystery health tour. But it turns out this isn't the first time the premier has rubbed shoulders with those who might favour adding a dash of free enterprise flavour to the bland borscht that is Canadian medicare. Back in 2003, The Vancouver Sun's Jeff Lee reported British Columbia's first minister invited Richard Scott, the former chief executive officer of what was once America's largest and most aggressive for-profit hospital operator, "to come to B.C. to give him advice on overhauling the health care system, saying he was 'an invaluable resource for government leaders, like myself, who see the need to reform and rebuild health care.'"
The premier eventually withdrew that invite, explaining "I don't see that we need him. I think the health authorities are well on target for what they are doing." Of course, that decision had absolutely nothing to do with the fact Mr. Scott and his company was at the centre of one of the largest healthcare fraud cases in United States history, with the Department of Justice accusing the firm of defrauding and overbilling the government's Medicare program.