• Fixing Ontario’s health system will take more than campaign rhetoric

    … hallway medicine… It seems to sum up so much that’s wrong with our health care system… this is not a new problem… And it won’t simply be swept away by electing a new one… The hospital, no matter how many beds there are, will always be the place people go when they have no other options. But that’s not good patient care and it’s not an option taxpayers can afford, especially with a growing and aging population.

  • Should universities inform parents when their children have mental-health issues?

    College and university students are adults. They have a right to privacy. Parents are not entitled to see their children’s medical records any more than they are entitled to see their transcripts… When students exhibit concerning behaviour – such as they stop going to class, stop bathing, withdraw socially, engage in self-harm, start talking about suicide and so forth – alarm bells should go off, ideally triggered by professors, dormitory assistants and counsellors. And parents feel they have a right to know.

  • A Prescription for Better Health for Canadians

    … helping families raising children, would have a much bigger impact on the average Canadian’s health than spending more on the health-care system would… The worse a person’s childhood is, the more risk there is of everything from obesity and diabetes to substance abuse and suicide. If we really want to get upstream and prevent illness, it means doing more to support people who are raising children. It would take pressure off the health-care system and save money, but only in the long term.

  • Mental Health Care (or Lack Thereof) in Canada

    In 2015/16, six percent of payments to family physicians were for psychotherapy and counselling services. Despite this, many of them report being uncomfortable providing counselling themselves, for reasons ranging from a perception that they are inadequately trained for such work, to time constraints. Family physicians also report a number of barriers to referring patients to psychologists, the largest being cost, since non-physician counselling services are not covered by public health insurance.

  • Filling the Cavities in Canada’s Dental Coverage

    A straightforward way of creating universality would be to gradually expand and merge existing public plans until everyone in the population was covered. However, universality does not necessarily mean that everyone must be insured through the same plan. As an alternative, we explore a mixed model with competition between private and public insurance in our recent C.D. Howe Institute report.

  • Clarity needed on what drug manufacturers are paying doctors millions of dollars for

    … it’s disquieting to know that Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin paid Canadian doctors $2 million in 2016 for services rendered. And, according to reporting by the Star’s Jesse McLean, that means the drug manufacturer paid Canadian doctors three times the amount it paid American doctors on a per capita basis… Full disclosure will make physicians more cautious about accepting payments that may influence how they treat their patients.

  • Good health depends on policy and income security

    Evidence shows that the larger a nation’s inequality gap — or the difference in wealth between the most affluent and those with the least means — the poorer the health of the nation as a whole, even when access to medical treatment is similar across groups… this indicates that the path to good health, at the individual and societal levels, rests in large part on policy choices we make to support income and income security, not just those focused on health care.

  • We must kill plastic to save ourselves

    … once an issue transforms into a human health concern, it becomes far more likely to be taken up by our elected leaders, noticed by the general public and consequently solved… What we are witnessing now is the genesis of another human health problem that I believe has the potential to dominate public debate over the next decade: the discovery that tiny plastic particles are permeating every human on earth.

  • Universal pharmacare the right prescription for Canada

    the Parliamentary Budget Office calculates that while universal pharmacare would cost governments $7 billion annually, it would provide Canadians on the whole with net savings of $8.1 billion a year.
    To put it another way, any increase in taxes attributable to pharmacare would be more than compensated for by out-of-pocket savings… perhaps this report is a sign that, finally, this eminently sensible idea is gaining political traction in Ottawa.

  • More talk about universal pharmacare in Canada, but still no action

    Since the Royal Commission on Health Services issued its recommendations on reforming still wet-behind-the-ears medicare in 1964, there have been dozens upon dozens of earnest reports, each saying more or less the same thing and each greeted with bons mots, then dutifully filed on a dusty shelf… The report from the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health, predictably, called for Canada’s patchwork of private and public drug plans to be replaced with a national single-payer pharmacare system.