• Cutting through the numbers on health-care funding

    Ottawa’s cash transfer covers 37 per cent of the costs of hospital, diagnostics and physician services (which were $92-billion last year). Federal tax dollars also go to health via equalization payments and targeted programs… beyond the dollars, there needs to be discussion about why Ottawa transfers dollars for health care. It should be to ensure that there is a semblance of a national system, to ensure that all Canadians have similar and equitable to care, regardless of their ability to pay, and where they live.

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    Brain man: Jeffrey A. Lieberman on the evolution of psychiatry

    … psychiatry should not become a specialty that focuses just on the biological aspect of a patient’s illness. It needs to be pluralistic and include genetics and other sciences that impact the brain… Psychiatrists are physicians trained in the illness of the brain… the most expensive of health professionals and governments try to use their time in a more economical way… For talk therapy or cognitive rehabilitation or marital therapy, patients will be encouraged to use a less expensive social worker or psychologist or trained lay therapist do that work.

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    Simcoe clinic in a grocery store breaks barriers for migrant farm workers

    The clinic was created to serve the more than 4,000 migrant farm workers toiling at farms and greenhouses in the region south of Brantford. Designed to eliminate some of the systemic barriers migrant workers face in getting basic health care, the pilot project has been a resounding success — reducing visits by such workers to the Norfolk General Hospital by 80 per cent… about 60 per cent are Spanish-speaking patients from Mexico, the rest from various Caribbean countries.

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    Mad Pride Toronto seeks to bring mentally ill into the mainstream

    Most discourse about mental illness tends to be either medical or institutional — how to treat and what to do with those who suffer from it. Mad Pride Toronto 2014 offers the much needed opportunity to engage with people living with mental illness as equals within the community, their forms of cultural life, their singular history. Madness needs to go mainstream.

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    40-year-old health report was prescient about today’s challenges

    Despite… the importance of addressing the socio-economic determinants of health, we have yet to heed Mr. Lalonde’s warning that the “traditional view of equating the level of health in Canada with the availability of physicians and hospitals is inadequate.” … We continue to spend on sickness care but we have savaged many social programs and made our tax system far less progressive.

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    Five maps that put cancer’s global spread into focus

    In some well-off Western countries, you’re likelier to get cancer. In less-developed countries, cancer is likelier to kill you… Canada… plac(ed) 12th in cancer incidence, with about 295 new cases for every 100,000 people and 64th in mortality, with about 103 deaths per 100,000… Lung cancer remains the most common – and deadliest – cancer in the world… Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women… The pattern of new breast cancer diagnoses and deaths in 2012 shows again that, when it comes to cancer, geography is destiny.

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    Primary care Paradox

    Jun. 28, 2011
    Douglas’s achievement in introducing medicare in Saskatchewan represented a deep conceptual shift that radically altered the provision of health care in Canada. He convinced a nation that in a civilized society, health care should be considered essential to individual and social well-being, and viewed both as a public right and a collective obligation. However, the events surrounding the birth of universal health insurance in Canada were full of irony on several levels

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    Tommy Douglas, the pragmatic socialist

    November 22, 2010
    He set an example of fiscal restraint (and, ironically, of limited government) that no other Canadian premier approached in the 20th century. In 17 years as premier, he produced 17 balanced budgets. From this perspective, he governed in a uniquely rational, disciplined and principled way… By reducing the debt, and thereby reducing interest costs, he was able to spend more on public services – without raising taxes.

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    Former senator Michael Kirby saluted for mental health work

    August 13, 2010
    “We realized something needed to be done about mental illness,” he says. “In report after report on the state of the health-care system, it was barely mentioned.” The committee published a series of reports culminating with its final report in 2006, entitled Out of the Shadows At Last, which recommended the formation of an arms-length commission that would deal with the issue of mental illness “in a way that would create some kind of national focal point.”

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    Cheers to a century of better public health in Canada

    Jun. 16, 2010
    While medical care has improved dramatically, the vast majority of those gains are due to pretty simple public health measures… The reality is that the economic and social conditions in which we live – income, housing, education, physical environment and support networks – ultimately have more impact on our health than genetics or lifestyle choices.