Canada Medicare

New Brunswick's Opportunity to Reduce Pharmaceutical Drug Prices

Steve Morgan | Posted 12.19.2014 | Canada Politics
Steve Morgan

The Liberal government of New Brunswick appears to be stepping back from the brink of mandatory prescription drug insurance. And so they should. The drug plan chosen by the Conservatives was designed on a false premise: that the private sector can better manage things than government can. In many sectors, that might be true. But not in health care.

New Hospital Funding Method Discharges Patients "Quicker But Sicker'

Karen Palmer | Posted 12.18.2014 | Canada Business
Karen Palmer

Most Canadians probably don't realize that health care in Canada is quietly undergoing a major transformation in funding that could significantly impact patients. Three provinces -- Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia -- are implementing a new funding model for hospitals and other provinces are watching with interest.

Ontario Doesn't Need An Income-Based Drug Benefit Program for Seniors

Steve Morgan | Posted 12.10.2014 | Canada Politics
Steve Morgan

Rather than placing a tax on health needs -- as income-based drug plans do -- Ontario should consider a more positive road to universal pharmacare. Specifically, it should consider tax financing a universal drug benefit program that would give non-seniors the same coverage elderly residents enjoy today.

Meet the Canadian Doctor Who Prescribes Income to Treat Poverty

Trudy Lieberman | Posted 11.27.2014 | Canada Politics
Trudy Lieberman

Last fall when I visited Canada, I met a Toronto doctor named Gary Bloch who has developed a poverty tool for medical practitioners. Bloch's idea was to zoom in on the social determinants of health -- food, housing, transportation -- all poverty markers linked to bad health and poor health outcomes.

Canada and America Are Both Guilty of Rationing Healthcare

Trudy Lieberman | Posted 11.06.2014 | Canada Politics
Trudy Lieberman

Yes, we do ration healthcare in America. It's just that those affected the most are those who have the least income. In America, we have become oddly blasé about income inequality and its consequences, increasingly willing to let those without simply do without. But the mere hint that a needs -- or evidence-based -- process might be used to allocate scarce or high-priced healthcare raises an outcry from those accustomed to getting what they want, when they want it.

Canada Needs To Adopt a 'Health In All Policies' Approach

Dr Ryan Meili | Posted 12.20.2014 | Canada Politics
Dr Ryan Meili

Beyond Quebec, despite the endorsement of the public health and policy community, a Health in All Policies approach has not found the political will necessary for meaningful change. But the past year offers signs of hope, with governments in Canada from across the political spectrum beginning to see the potential.

Three Steps Towards Better Canadian Health Care

Mark Taliano | Posted 07.18.2014 | Canada Politics
Mark Taliano

The manufactured health care crisis is a case in point. Solutions to challenges of cost, quality, and access are fairly straightforward but wilfully ignored, and current trajectories towards corporatization are leading us in the wrong direction. Here are some solutions.

This Doctor Treats Poverty Like a Disease

Trudy Lieberman | Posted 06.13.2014 | Canada Impact
Trudy Lieberman

What would you think if your doctor handed you a prescription that recommended filing your tax returns or applying for food or income benefit programs instead of the usual medicines for high blood pressure or diabetes? You'd probably say the physician was nuts. Tax refunds? Food? What do they have to do with making you healthier?

Every Taxpaying Canadian Has a $243,000 Bill, Courtesy of Our Government

Charles Lammam | Posted 06.03.2014 | Canada Politics
Charles Lammam

Put simply, the aging of Canada's population has resulted in large and growing unfunded liabilities. The funding shortfall is estimated at $792.3 billion for the CPP, $494.4 billion for OAS, and $894.7 billion for medicare. Together the unfunded liabilities in Canada's public pensions and health care programs total $2.2 trillion or $134,841 for each income taxpayer. These unfunded program obligations make up more than half of total government liabilities. And their sheer size calls into question the structure of taxing current workers to provide benefits for retirees. Ultimately, to maintain current levels of spending in the future, taxes will have to increase or benefits for other programs will have to be cut -- or both.

Bragging to America Won't Fix Canadian Health Care

Bacchus Barua | Posted 05.22.2014 | Canada Politics
Bacchus Barua

A recent testimony before a U.S. Senate subcommittee by Dr. Danielle Martin, former head of the Canadian Doctors for Medicare, has given Canadians the chance to indulge in what may be a favourite pastime -- criticizing the American health care system. While the American health care system has some important shortcomings, the same holds true for Canada's. Inordinately long wait times, medical resource shortages, and ballooning healthcare costs have become defining characteristics of healthcare in our country -- and denigrating the American approach will not fix those problems.

Seeking Relief Outside Canada

Nadeem Esmail | Posted 02.19.2014 | Canada Politics
Nadeem Esmail

That a considerable number of Canadians traveled and paid to escape the well-known failings of the Canadian health-care system speaks volumes about how well the system is working for them. It leaves open the question of just how many more Canadians might choose medical tourism outside Canada if given the opportunity.

Muddled Medical Thinking and a Meddlesome Alberta Doctor

Mark Milke | Posted 01.29.2014 | Canada Alberta
Mark Milke

One irony of Canadian life is that the most economically free province in the country, Alberta, often has government policy that is the most hostile to private health care. Another irony, this time right across Canada, is that one can spend any amount of money on a basic necessity of life such as food.

November Legislature Recap

Cole Hogan | Posted 01.26.2014 | Canada Alberta
Cole Hogan

The Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan resumed sitting late last month, Members making the trek to Regina for the Third Session of the 27th Legislative Assembly.

'Free' Health Care in Canada Costs More Than It's Worth

Nadeem Esmail | Posted 10.09.2013 | Canada Politics
Nadeem Esmail

The Canadian health care system is not free -- in fact, Canadian families pay heavily for healthcare through the tax system. That high price paints the long wait times and lack of medical technologies in Canada in a very different light.

No More Excuses Mr. Harper, We Need a Pharmacare Strategy - Stat!

Hedy Fry | Posted 10.07.2013 | Canada British Columbia
Hedy Fry

Our country needs a pharmaceuticals strategy that's more than just low-cost drug coverage. Unfortunately, when the Harper government -- which has consistently treated collaboration with the provinces and territories as both obscene and objectionable -- came to power, it walked away from a national pharmaceuticals strategy. As a result, instead of being eight years in on making prescription drugs more accessible, and safer, millions in our country -- as many as one-in-ten Canadians -- cannot afford the medication they need.

How Harper Uses Psychology to Peddle Myths

Mark Taliano | Posted 09.29.2013 | Canada Politics
Mark Taliano

For decades, the advertising industry has successfully associated cigarette smoking, (and a multitude of other products,) with "freedom," and other abstractions. People not only "buy" the messages, but they buy the products as well. Similar Psy-Ops strategies are being employed in Canada under the Harper reign.

Time for Premiers to Stand Up to Federal Bullies on Health Care

Paul Moist | Posted 09.23.2013 | Canada Politics
Paul Moist

When Canada's premiers meet for the annual Council of the Federation this week, the future of health care is a critical item on the agenda. The role of a premier is to stand up to federal government bullying on behalf of all Canadians. We are asking them to send a strong message to the Harper Conservative Government: Get back to the table and get back on board to support public health care for all in Canada.

Waiting for Health Care Is Not a Necessary Evil

Nadeem Esmail | Posted 09.22.2013 | Canada Politics
Nadeem Esmail

Waiting is a defining characteristic of Canadian health care. Canadians wait, often interminably, for access to health care services. Canada's wait times are among the longest in the developed world. And, contrary to popular belief, Canada's terrible wait times are not the result of insufficient health care spending. In 2009 (the most recent year for which comparable statistics are available), Canada's health care system ranked as the developed world's most expensive universal-access system. The solution to Canada's waiting time woes is sensible health policy reform that would employ private competition in the delivery of universally accessible hospital and surgical services .

Why Hospitals Slow to a Crawl During the Summer

Nadeem Esmail | Posted 08.20.2013 | Canada
Nadeem Esmail

Every year, provincial health care systems across Canada dutifully reduce the volume of services they provide in preparation for the summer vacation season. This planned-for reduction has the inevitable effect of lengthening waiting times for Canadians over the summer months (and during Christmas holidays). The added twist this year is the slowdowns might be extended in a bid to reduce expenditures.

Think Canada Has the World's Best Health Care? Think Again

Mark Milke | Posted 07.22.2013 | Canada Politics
Mark Milke

We would wager citizens of every country think health care could be improved. However, we would also bet a plane ticket to someone's favourite summer getaway that Canadians will find countries with universal health care, such as Australia, Japan, or favourite tourist destinations in Europe, have far better health care than we do. That's because their citizens and their governments have no hang-ups about the three boogeymen of upfront fees, "private" insurance, and private delivery. They are also nations with progressive, sensible health care practices that could help improve Canada's health care system.

Popes and Politicians Alike Need a Hand These Days

Diane Francis | Posted 05.18.2013 | Canada
Diane Francis

Immediately after Pope Francis became the leader of the world's 1.2-billion Catholics this week, he prayed for guidance. And it's little wonder. He is the newly elected CEO of the Vatican. The United States, despite a currency mantra of "In God We Trust," has also been forced to undergo serious soul-searching following its 2008 fiscal catastrophe.

Chronic Condition: An Excerpt on Why Canada's Health-Care System Needs to Be Dragged Into the 21st Century

Jeffrey Simpson | Posted 05.01.2013 | Canada
Jeffrey Simpson

2013-02-08-WT.jpg Policy planners and health-policy experts can build their models and do their studies, but patients want high-quality service now, they want it free and they want it effective. They pay their taxes for a health-care system that is among the most expensive in the world. They are not getting enough value for money. Why not?

Let's Stop Deluding Ourselves And Fix Medicare Now

Daniel D. Veniez | Posted 10.23.2012 | Canada
Daniel D. Veniez

Many Canadians have developed an insidious culture of self-satisfaction that comes with being told repetitively by politicians and media that we have "the best health care system in the world." We have somehow taken this patent lie as a slice of authentic Canadiana. It makes us feel good, safe and comfortable. But you don't have a "comprehensive and universal" system if it takes two years to get a hip replaced, or eight months to get an MRI after a hard knock to the head. How can we keep a straight face and call our system a caring and "universal" one if many have no where to go?

What Hasn't Changed Since I Was B.C. Health Minister

Rafe Mair | Posted 10.23.2012 | Canada British Columbia
Rafe Mair

Back in ancient times I was health minister in B.C. Much has changed. No one had heard of AIDS in 1979-80. Organ transplants were rare. MRIs were just gleams in inventors' eyes. One thing has however remained the same -- the debate over private medicine. In those days doctors were demanding the right of "balance billing," a euphemism for padding their bills. Now the doctors are mad at Vancouver's Dr. Brian Day for operating his own form of balance billing by running a clinic outside the Medical Services Plan. At this writing, Day is challenging the government to go to court and get an injunction against his clinic.

If Politicians Won't Fix Healthcare, Maybe This Doctor Will

Daniel D. Veniez | Posted 10.21.2012 | Canada
Daniel D. Veniez

Does our belief in, and desire to have, a public universal health care system conflict with our human and individual right to have timely access to the care we need if the system is not responsive? That is the question that will soon be before the courts. Dr. Brian Day, former president of the Canadian Medical Association, is forcing the issue. He is now CEO of a private, for-profit hospital in Vancouver. We aren't supposed to have those in Canada, but we do. Everywhere. Why? Because there is a huge market demand for timely and quality health care that is not being met by the public system.