Siri Stafford via Getty Images
Westend61 via Getty Images
Long waiting lists seem to have become a permanent feature of Canadian health care. But what are the effects of having to wait a long time for medical treatment? Is it just an annoyance, or are the consequences more serious?
The Liberal government's Health Accord recognized that; the Council of the Federation recognizes that; health care advocates and health professions recognize that. This is the mandate of the federal government and it is time to stop passing the buck to provinces.
Gubcio via Getty Images
He'll learn, if he follows the money, that two thirds of health dollars spent are public dollars, yet two thirds of health dollars consumed are by private health providers, which includes specialists and family physicians operating their own private practices. This means he isn't so much the commander of a "health system" as he is at the apex of a "health industry". In short, the secret to really getting things done is: incentives, incentives, incentives.
Daniele Carotenuto Photography
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.
Echo via Getty Images
Having spent 15 years studying these alternative medicine techniques I clearly see how the body can be receptive to such suggestions. It is more than just positive thinking. Having done this type of work to heal myself and having helped many others, I can attest to the fact that it is truly a journey.
The Crazy Project
Recently, a scathing report on the United States' health care system was issued. Surprisingly, little was made of this report in Canada. This was a shocking oversight, given that our performance on this same report was abysmal. Our health care system ranked second last in the study. How did our once-vaunted health care system become such a very expensive failure?
Dick Luria/Getty Images
Although mental health is a heavy and personal matter that comes with a lot of stigma, talking about it is like finally being able to breathe! It lifts a huge weight off your shoulders and you are able to live again.
West Coast Surfer via Getty Images
As consumers of an amazing medical system, I see the benefits of what we have to offer. At the same time I do see the shortfalls. I often wonder if we had a system which emphasized prevention, nutrition, meditation, breathing, routine exercise, living life from a heart based existence and more -- would we have such an expensive health care system?
James Brey via Getty Images
Expenditures on public health care in Canada appear to be slowing, raising the possibility that the health care cost curve is finally being bent and the system transformed. What does this mean? The economy will eventually recover and relax provincial health expenditure constraints, but federal health transfer growth will be reduced starting in 2017.
As a practicing family doctor, I have always been fascinated with health and healing. Over my 20-year career, I have marvelled at the resiliency of the human body. Most of us are taught that our bodies are basically stuck with a disease and there is little hope. My questioning mind and search for more has taken me down a slightly different path.
I spent eight months in and out of hospital, received eight operations on my left leg, had my left knee joint replaced twice, and had two cataract operations. Managing my care and booking appointments by phone took a lot of effort. I jumped at the chance to use a patient portal, a digital health tool that my doctor introduced me to.
I really loved Canada and the big blue skies they shared with me, their staunch ethic duty to serve all people in their nation when ill and in need, and their readiness to acknowledge health care's need to catch up and join patients where they live online.
Many countries offer sophisticated medical care and universal coverage and yet have very different health-care models. And, more importantly, several of these countries achieve better health outcomes. To be fair, international health care rankings never offer a consensus on which country truly has "the best" system. But there is one area where these rankings are consistent: they usually place Canada and the U.S. mid to low pack. I believe both countries can do so much better.
The report of the Ontario Social Assistance Review Commission, released October 24, offered some important steps toward health-focused change. Its release was set to spark a badly needed discussion on reform of a broken and anemic system. The surprise resignation of Premier Dalton McGuinty changed that -- this debate has been conspicuously absent.
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.
Woody Allen once said that basketball transports us to a primitive place for higher learning. The loose arrangement of strangers balling on public pavement illustrates many of the ivory tower's arguments surrounding health insurance. We can try breaking it down like this...
The Harper government may choose to believe that a divided society is not bad for the economy, or that wealth will trickle down. Canadians from across the country may have to assure him that health will surely not. Canada has fared better than other nations in the global economic crisis, but success stories have not followed those who prescribed austerity.
The implementation of Obamacare seems anything but straight forward. Costs have soared despite the fact that most reforms don't kick in until 2014; several states have effectively rebelled; one basic reform (the long-term care insurance) was already scrapped. The debate over American health care seems no closer to resolution.
Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall is urging health-care providers across the country to use "lean management techniques" in their service delivery, and thinks the federal government could play a bigger r...
Harper's unilateral offer promises increases in federal funding that are unsustainable. With health care set to eat up 80 per cent of provincial budgets by 2035, if no substantial reforms are implemented we will have serious consequences for the ability of provinces to spend on departments other than health care.
Today, the premiers are meeting in Victoria. Top of the agenda: health care. It's a meeting that will be long on rhetoric but short on purpose. Historically, such meetings allow premiers to bemoan the lack of stable, long-term funding from Ottawa.
Here's the paradox in modern health care: medicine has never been better, but we seem to be getting collectively less healthy. Obesity rates continue to rise dramatically: One in four Canadians are overweight and among the heaviest of the Western world.
The debate over health care consumerism -- a more overarching issue bound up in the very notion of Canadianism -- is over. Outside of dusty corners of academia, Canadians agree that health care is a service industry like any other. It's just more complicated.
There is no single reform that is going to make medicare work better. But there is a general approach that would be useful. And that alternative approach recognizes the limitations of centralized planning and the need to allow more private money and leadership into the system.
At the heart of B.C.'s approach to health care is the conviction that the doctor-patient relationship -- that long term bond forged over time -- is the critical attribute that promotes healthier patients and more appropriate, cost-effective care.
Imagine if, instead of scaring people with the dangers of obesity and cigarettes, we actually rewarded people when they bought healthy groceries, when they exercised or when they called into a smoking cessation hotline? Could this be a big part of the future for Canadian health promotion and care?
OTTAWA - A new report says Canadians believe the country's health-care system needs to be fixed. The Canadian Medical Association report says people want to see the system transformed to deliver "time...
Health care, which pollsters insisted was the issue of greatest concern to voters in the federal election, was summarily dismissed by our political parties with a unanimous promise made up of two simple words: "more money." But throwing ever-larger amounts of taxpayer dollars at the problem without measuring value often simply results in more waste and duplication.
THE CANADIAN PRESS -- VANCOUVER - The country's premiers want to ensure Canada seizes the economic opportunities associated with being a part of the Asia-Pacific but they sidestepped the issue of huma...
Business as usual in health care is not a viable option. We must choose which road of reform we want to go down. There have been some positive efforts to improve the quality and timeliness of targeted public health-care services, but these actions are just too small to be real game-changers.
North Americans have a faddish embrace of an imagined European model that is supposedly free of waiting lists and can serve as models of more efficient and fairer health care for Canada and the U.S.