Universal Health Care

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Canada's Health-Care System Is Failing Patients

Shorter waits for hip-fracture repair, and eight out of 10 Canadians receiving "priority procedures" within government-defined benchmarks. Sounds pretty good, right? However, these highlights from the Canadian Institute of Healthcare Information's annual update of Wait Times for Priority Procedures in Canada are little more than feel-good distractions from the real story.
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How Much "Free" Health Care Really Costs Canadians

"Don't touch my free health care," is a common refrain from defenders of the status quo whenever anyone broaches the topic of reforming Canada's health-care system. While politicians and interest groups no doubt share a portion of the blame for perpetuating the myth of a $0 price tag for health care in Canada, their ability to carry public opinion with them stems from the murky manner in which health care is funded.
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Our Universal Health Care Needs Reform, Not Corporatization

The dismantling of our emblematic health care system is happening beneath our very noses. We are assured that it is in or best interests, and that corporate, multi-tiered health care, like corporate globalization, is inevitable. Nothing could be further from the truth. Each promise about corporate healthcare is false. Comprehensive documentation shows that a "two tier" system is inferior to a universal publicly funded system, by any measure.
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Don't Listen to the Fear Mongers. Competition in Health Care Works

Those opposed to market-based health care reform do their best to scare Canadians. Reality, however, is considerably different. International experience suggests that private competition is a fundamental feature of a high-performing, universal access health care system. For evidence, consider the Dutch health care system where private (and even for-profit) insurance companies, private providers, activity-based funding and cost sharing combine to provide more timely access to high (if not higher) quality care than Canada's system for similar cost.
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'Privatization' Is the Problem, Not the Solution

According to neo-con politicians, union bosses and their minions, as well as public servants, and public institutions, are the causes of our economic woes, even as these are some of the few remaining polities that mitigate the damages caused by predator capitalism. Two of Canada's "emblematic" institutions, currently being undermined so that they can be replaced by inferior models, are "universal" health care, and Canada Post.
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Doctors Are Under the Influence of Pharma Drugs

Why do so many doctors still think they are invincible to the influence of the pharmaceutical industry? Attractive, well-dressed, charismatic drug reps with pearly smiles and shiny flow charts still wait in waiting rooms. Lectures and conferences still occur where lunch is paid for by the pharmaceutical industry. Canada has banned the use of TV, print and radio advertising of drugs directly to consumers because we recognize that this information should come from unbiased sources. Why then do we allow so much drug promotion to physicians? As a medical community, we have to say no to pharmaceutical influences on our practice.
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Let's Stop Deluding Ourselves And Fix Medicare Now

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?
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Will This Man Give Canada's Healthcare a Shot in the Arm?

The Canadian Medical Association's 145th annual meeting is taking place this week. The mantra of the meeting is health equity, and Sir Michael Marmot, the white knight of social determinants, undoubtedly provides the human and scholarly element the issue of inequality deserves. There may be no better person to articulate Canada's barriers to better health outcomes.
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We're No Americans, But Canada Can't Agree on Healthcare Reform

As noted in a recent report by the Canadian Medical Association, Canadians are demanding health system reform now more than they ever have before--and seem to be coalescing around a "moral imperative" to create a system that will be sustainable for years to come. There is little agreement on how best to move forward, especially when it comes to the thorny issue of funding.
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Live in the Developed World? Here's How Obamacare Affects You

The American healthcare debate is not a debate for Americans only. In two ways at least, the debate implicates the well-being of everybody in the developed world. More money spent on healthcare means less money for drug innovation -- a U.S. speciality that services the world. It also means less money for American defence -- something U.S. allies might be less than pleased with. Because when Americans talk about today's health costs, they are also talking about tomorrow's defense budget -- the budget that protects us all from a world of dangers.