• Better medicare the prescription for Ontario

    Calls for user fees on top of what the government already pays us, and arguments to let rich Ontarians pay for faster services, undermine values shared by most doctors and patients. Not to mention, they also fly in the face of the evidence. Besides violating the Canada Health Act and Ontario’s own laws, user fees and similar charges disproportionately impact those least able to pay, who also happen to be the Ontarians most in need of care.

  • Prescription from ER doctor: expand public dental programs

    … they come to the hospital because they have nowhere else to go. For children in low income families, we have a public dental program called Healthy Smiles Ontario. For anyone over age 17 (including seniors), we have nothing… there were almost 61,000 visits to emergency departments in Ontario for dental problems in 2015, or one visit every nine minutes… Based on the average cost of an emergency room visit, the Association of Ontario Health Centres estimates it costs the province at least $31 million annually.

  • Beyond harm reduction

    … regulation must be embraced as the next step in harm reduction. “That is the stated objective behind cannabis regulation: They’re doing this to protect youth, they’re doing this to protect public safety,” Mr. MacPherson said. “The same argument applies to all other drugs, as difficult as that is to put forward. We need to get beyond the point where we’re afraid of that, because what we have now is absolutely not working.”

  • Health benefits tax off the table, Trudeau says

    The finance department has been considering making employer-provided health and dental plans a taxable benefit, a move that could add more than $1,000 to the income tax bills of the 13.5 million Canadians who have such plans… But as word got out, opposition from the insurance industry, unions, medical associations and small businesses began to mount.

  • Courts are the biggest threat to Canadian medicare

    The Supreme Court unanimously ruled that provincial governments were required under the Canada Health Act to provide patients only with “core” services and that their failure to offer more did not violate anyone’s charter rights… A 2004 Federal Court… judge ruled he had no authority to make the federal government monitor and enforce the Canada Health Act… When it comes to expanding collective rights connected to medicare, the courts are cautious and deferential. But when it comes to expanding individual rights at the expense of medicare, they are far bolder.

  • In Brad Wall’s deal, clues for medicare’s future

    Ottawa says the national health act is meant to ensure Canadians have reasonable access to medical care based on need, not on the ability to pay… The fact is, two-tier health care already exists. It happens when people can’t afford prescriptions that others can. It happens when people take advantage of extended health-care plans others don’t have. It happens at the dentist’s office that many can’t afford. It happens when you are a member of a group exempted under the act and allowed to attend private clinics.

  • Kathleen Wynne is right that Ottawa should pay more for health care

    Provinces have long called for Ottawa’s portion of total health spending to rise to 25 per cent, as former Saskatchewan premier Roy Romanow recommended in his landmark health-care report… As a recent Parliamentary Budget Office report concluded, the feds’ current approach is sustainable for them and perilous for the provinces, which have been asked to assume a growing share of the growing risk.

  • How to resolve the impasse over health costs

    … based on what we have learned over the past 10 years, a growth rate that encourages tighter management of funds is needed. According to the Conference Board, a scenario that limits healthcare spending would result in increased expenditures of 4.4 per cent a year rather than 5.2 per cent. In light of these considerations, Ottawa should propose to increase the Canada Health Transfer by the annual nominal GDP plus one percentage point.

  • Provincial side deals not good for national health care

    Extending federal funding to other priority areas is just as important as the base funding level.. Focusing on mental heath, seniors care, pharmacare and home care address long-standing problems in health care that have resulted in significant costs elsewhere in the system — especially in the use of pricey hospital beds where better care is preferable. These changes could provide savings that base funding increases by themselves aren’t certain to produce.

  • Canada’s existing healthcare funding model has a fatal flaw

    With no new accord, the federal government can focus more on its own pressing health delivery issues, such as improving indigenous and veterans’ health… If the federal government sticks to its guns, what now looks like a failure — the inability to reach a new accord — may, in retrospect, come to be seen as the beginning of a long overdue process of rejuvenating a health system that has not been performing very well in recent years.