Arguments about the universality of health care aside, the growing likelihood of a for-profit health centre on the Westbank First Nation Reserve could at least serve to shorten waiting lists across the province.
And it could, finally, level the playing field for aboriginal people, many of whom have not been served adequately by the health-care system.
The $125-million facility would have 100 beds and potentially open up a lucrative market in "destination health care" for the WFN.
Ground-breaking could start as early as October, although the Indian band is being tight-lipped about the project while it negotiates a partnership with Johns Hopkins Medicine International.
Even so, the project is generating some buzz as members of the WFN gear up for band elections at the end of the month. And that is spilling over into municipal politics, as Mayor Walter Gray swooned over the proposal at this week's city council meeting.
Gray also sees potential in developing the tourism aspect - come to the sunny Okanagan, have your hip replaced, and hey, while you're here, why not visit a winery or two?
Medical tourism would bring outside dollars to the Valley, but the bigger benefit is the effect such a centre would have on reducing waiting times in the public system for regular folk who can't afford to pay for private care.
A centre of this size, with potentially 300-plus staff, could perform thousands of procedures a year, creating the possibility for cost savings on the public side as well as improving service times.
- Managing Editor