May 20, 2011
CareCard security comes with big price tag
The good news is that new B.C. CareCards will cut down on fraud. Here’s part of the report from the Victoria Times Colonist:
The new card will “offer more security benefits than a current driver’s license,” including anti-forgery features, identity proofing, a security chip and recent photograph, the government said in a press release.
B.C. residents will have to re-enrol in the province’s health care system to receive the new card — with the exception of people under 19 and certain seniors’ groups — and then renew their CareCards every five years to stay eligible for health-care benefits. If for some reason they don’t do so, they’ll be ineligible for publicly paid health care services, but will still be given care in emergency situations, according to the news release.
The bad news, then, is that we’ll also get a ballooning bureaucracy. Times Colonist reporter Rob Shaw tweeted: “B.C.‘s new high-tech CareCards will cost gov’t $125-150 million over 5 years. Minister originally said $10 mil. Big difference.”
I’m betting most of that money will go toward paying salaries. We’ll be standing in lineups to get these cards and we’ll likely get dinged $20 for the privilege. Where else is the money going to come from?
The only comfort here is the possibility that fraud is costing taxpayers even more. With twice as many CareCards in circulation as there are people in B.C. (9.1 million vs. 4.5 million), the potential is certainly there.