TheGlobeandMail.com – commentary/letters
30 July 2012. Sid Frankel
The Council of the Federation and its health-care-innovations working group have suggested useful measures to reorganize purchasing, health-care delivery and evaluation (Premiers Take Health-Care Reins – July 27). But they can be accused of reorganizing the deck chairs while ignoring the iceberg: Persistent poverty and inequality are the most powerful determinants of health status and, therefore, health-care expenditure. The federal government has increased the size of the iceberg with its eligibility restrictions on Old Age Security and Employment Insurance.
Canadian physician and health analyst Michael Rachlis estimates that poverty accounts for at least 20 per cent of all health-care costs. The premiers ignore this at their peril. No one remembers the crew of the Titanic for making service more efficient by reorganizing deck chairs, but rather for causing a disaster by ignoring reality.
Sid Frankel, associate professor, Faculty of Social Work, University of Manitoba