• The public interest in binding arbitration for doctors

    … it has been argued… that government should not agree to arbitration for physicians, because this would result in unwarranted and unreasonable compensation increases for physicians… contrary to this bald assertion, the experience in provinces where binding interest arbitration for physician compensation is in place… is that, where physicians are treated fairly and respectfully, they have proven themselves to be more than willing and responsible partners in working with government to improve the health care system.

  • Provinces get their cash, but do we get better health care?

    In the end, both Ottawa and the provinces/territories will be getting almost exactly what they asked for at the negotiating table… nobody really compromises and everyone saves face. What matters in the end is not whether we have one health accord or 13 health accords. What matters is: Will the transfer of these monies result in better health care?

  • If you like Canada’s liquor, transit and electricity monopolies, you’ll love the medicine cartel

    The [CMAJ] study… claims billions of health dollars could be saved if Canada were to adopt universal public coverage of prescription medications, aka, pharmacare… Nobody would argue that Canada’s pharmaceutical system is cheap or the most efficient. Thanks to a balkanized regime under the control of provincial jurisdictions with a heavy federal oversight, the dominant structure is one of central planning, not market forces.

  • Moving slowly on pharmacare is better than not moving at all

    … average Canadian prices of the most commonly prescribed generic versions of drugs are sky-high compared with other countries. Costs are 60 per cent lower in Sweden and 84 per cent lower in New Zealand, both of which have types of universal pharmacare. Even the United States, which has by far the highest health-care costs per capita in the world, has lower-cost drugs – 47 per cent lower… The problem, of course, is that any plan would result in higher government spending, and therefore higher taxes.

  • 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.