A Chinese national who flew to the city of Richmond in British Columbia, Canada, from China just to give birth in Richmond Hospital is now being sued after failing to pay the bill she owed to the hospital in 2012.
The birth took place in 2012 when the woman, identified as Yan Xia, went to Richmond Hospital to give birth. However, she was not a Canadian citizen, and the hospital claims that she agreed to pay the non-residential rates with maternal and neonatal care, which priced, at the time, to be at 313,000 Canadian dollars ($238,000).
After her very serious and complicated delivery, Xia reportedly took her newborn baby and immediately fled the country, according to Shanghaiist.
Since the incident, her bill in the hospital has increased drastically all due to the 2% monthly interest rate. With 67 months having already passed, her total bill – and the amount she owed to the hospital – is now at 1.2 million Canadian dollars ($920,000), Richmond News reported.
“In breach of the Agreement (with the hospital’s rate schedule), the defendant has not paid the Amount Owing nor any portion thereof,” as said in the claim, which was filed in April at B.C. Supreme Court on behalf of Vancouver Coastal Health by lawyer David Georgetti of Vertlieb and Co.
According to the report, the hospital is home to a booming birth tourism, which mostly sees Chinese nationals coming to the region to give birth, all mainly due to the Jus Soli rights in Canada. This means that anyone who gives birth in the country will automatically become a Canadian citizen, and along with it comes all the social safety net the country offers should the family choose to live there.
Although Xia’s baby is automatically a Canadian citizen, the B.C. Ministry of Health stated that the child is not yet a resident there, which doesn’t make him/her qualify for public health insurance known as Medical Services Plan (MSP).
As some sort of financial security, some hospitals ask non-residents who wish to give birth in Canada to pay a 7,500 Canadian dollar ($5,700) deposit for a regular procedure, and a 13,000 Canadian dollar ($9,882) deposit for C-section birth. While this may be the standard case, hospital still has no security whenever a special case arrives, such as what happened to Xia in 2012.
While this is not exactly illegal, in any way, some locals see this as an abusive and exploitative practice, which is why some of them have had started a petition calling the “birth tourism” to end.