British Columbia: Over the past year, B.C. spent $16 million to send cancer patients to Bellingham, Washington, for radiation therapy. Of this, $13.1 million went to two private clinics, and $3 million covered travel, meals, and accommodations for patients and their support persons.

The program, started last May to reduce wait times, has shown some improvement. Now, 80% of B.C. cancer patients receive radiation within four weeks, up from 75% in December. However, B.C. still lags behind the national average of 94%.

Between June 2023 and June 2024, 801 patients were treated in Bellingham, costing about $16,000 per patient. In contrast, five rounds of radiation in B.C. cost $3,854. The program aims to treat 2,400 patients a year at $34 million annually for two years.

Dr. Brian Day, a Vancouver physician, criticized the government for sending money to U.S. private clinics while opposing similar options in Canada, calling it hypocritical and a waste of taxpayer dollars.

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