International News Desk – At Home: BC Health Minister backs private care – In Foreign News: Sears tower goes green

International News Desk – At Home: BC Health Minister backs private care – In Foreign News: Sears tower goes green

At Home: BC Health Minister backs private care

When it comes to Canadians paying for private health services, BC’s new health minister thinks it should be an option.

?I do not have any objection to people using their own money just as they do for dental care or sending their kids to private school,? Kevin Falcon, BC’s new Health Minister, told reporters.

For Falcon, allowing patients to pay for extended, private-sector health care is just one way of helping ?improve the public delivery of services.?

Falcon was appointed as health minister on June 10, and his statement comes as part of his first major interview in the role. As the Canadian health care system faces continuing service cuts and longer wait times, the issue of private care has come under increasing scrutiny.

In one current court case, the government is being sued by private clinics ?for not allowing doctors to accept private payment from patients in private clinics.?

The claim by clinics is that ?legislation preventing patients from paying for expedited care in private clinics is unconstitutional.? The clinics are hoping to have a previous Supreme Court of Canada ruling apply in BC; that case saw the court overturn Quebec’s ban on ?private insurance for medically necessary services.?

In Foreign News: Sears tower goes green

The Sears Tower, Chicago’s iconic 110-storey landmark, is going green. The building won’t change its familiar bronze and black colours, but will instead be adding wind turbines to its rooftop as part of an energy-reduction plan.

The retrofit of the ?70s-era building is expected to cost $350 million dollars and ?reduce electricity use in the tower by 80 percent over five years,? as The New York Times reports. Along with installing wind turbines, the green renovations will include upgrades to the internal lighting, glass exterior, and the cooling, heating, and elevator systems.

In a building that houses 4.5 million square feet of retail and office space, even small changes make a big difference, and the green renovations are expected to set an example of what can be done with other aging skyscrapers.

?If we can take care of one building that size, it has a huge impact on society,? said Adrian Smith, an architect with the firm behind similar renovations at the Sears Tower. ?It is a village in and of itself.?

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