Physician and Vice President, Women's College Hospital in Toronto, advisor, EvidenceNetwork.ca
Dr. Danielle Martin is a family physician and the board chair of Canadian Doctors for Medicare. She is clinical staff at Women's College Hospital and lecturer in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Toronto. She served on the Health Council of Canada from 2005-2011.
Dr. Martin is an active student of public policy, serving on the Advisory Board of the Mowat Centre for Policy Innovation and enrolled in the Master of Public Policy program at the School of Public Policy and Governance, University of Toronto. Dr. Martin has been recognized for contributions to improving Canadian health care. In 2005, she received the Canadian Medical Association Award for Young Leaders; in 2006, the Ontario College of Family Physicians named her one of three New Family Doctors of the Year.
Dr. Martin helped launch Canadian Doctors for Medicare in May 2006, as the voice for Canadian physicians who believe in "a high quality, equitable, sustainable health system built on the best available evidence as the highest expression of Canadians caring for one another."
Other than driving doctors to activism that might even send them north across the border, threats to the Canadian system as a result of the Trump agenda relate less to the repeal of Obamacare and more to his intention to renegotiate NAFTA.
As his first act in office, Donald Trump signed an executive order, taking the first step to repeal the Affordable Care Act. With the stroke of a pen, 20 million Americans may soon find themselves without health insurance.
The Basic Income Guarantee is a strategy for poverty reduction that is simpler and more effective than our existing social assistance systems. Quite simply, individuals whose incomes fall below a certain level get topped up to a level that would meet basic needs.
Medicare is a defining program and a source of enduring commitment from coast to coast, and all political parties claim to support the Canada Health Act. Why are we not hearing resounding denouncement of Minister Barrette's plan to "normalize" user fees from our federal politicians?
What makes people sick? Infectious agents like bacteria and viruses and personal factors like smoking, eating poorly and living a sedentary lifestyle. But none of these compares to the way that poverty makes us sick. Prescribing medications and lifestyle changes for our patients who suffer from income deficiency isn't enough; we need to start prescribing healthy incomes. The upstream factors that affect health -- such as income, education, employment, housing, and food security -- have a far greater impact on whether we will be ill or well. Of these, income has the most powerful influence, as it shapes access to the other health determinants.
Businesses care about the health and well-being of the Canadian workforce. Employees that can afford the medicines as and when prescribed will be healthier, happier, and more productive. In this election year, it is time for Canada's business leaders to call for universal, public pharmacare.
In a public healthcare system, too often system failures end up as fodder for Question Period battles rather than impetus for learning. When investments have been made in new models of health service funding and delivery that don't work out, it can be difficult to proclaim failure as a means to move toward success.
Better pharmacare for all Canadians will be difficult to achieve without the federal government at the table. The government of Canada could lead on this issue in a way that no single province or territory can do, by supporting the development of a single national list of drugs to be covered for all Canadians and by harnessing the purchasing power of the whole nation to get the best possible bang for our buck.
We need leaders who will rise to the challenge of protecting and improving medicare, not shirk their responsibilities. Prime Minister Harper, you are needed back at the table for a 2014 Health Accord. Canadians have real expectations of you, not just to cut cheques -- and increasingly smaller cheques at that -- but to lead Canada on health care. Your absence will hurt the health of Canadians.