• One-handed applause for youth pharmacare plan

    … once a popular pharmacare scheme is in place, it will be politically difficult for any government to kill it. Fiscally, the Liberal drug plan has the advantage of being cheap — largely because younger people tend to be in good health. Officials say it will cost roughly $465 million a year, a relatively small amount for a government that spends more than $140 billion annually.

  • Drug plan shows Ontario Liberals still have a few tricks left

    The so-called “OHIP+” plan will make prescriptions free for children and young people – anyone who’s 24 or younger – beginning next Jan. 1… It’s a push towards universal pharmacare, the most glaring gap in Canada’s medicare system… a national plan would be cheaper and more efficient than province-by-province solutions. But if Ottawa won’t take the lead, it’s good to see Ontario stepping up.

  • Canada can learn from U.S. attack on high drug prices

    … the U.S. and Canada have a fragmented patch work of public and private drug plans. Where you work, where you live, or your age, ultimately dictate whether you are eligible for drug coverage and determine the generosity of your benefits… in Canada, the lack of a national drug plan leaves at least $4 billion in savings on the table every year, according to the latest research in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

  • Ontario NDP has a political winner in universal pharmacare plan

    According to the Ministry of Health, in 2015, 2.2 million Ontarians had no drug coverage; patients spent $2.5 billion out of pocket on prescriptions. In a 2015 Angus Reid poll, 25 per cent of Ontarians reported not filling a prescription, skipping doses or splitting pills because of the cost. And this is unique among countries with universal health care…

  • Andrea Horwath’s pharmacare proposal makes good sense

    We are the only country in the world with universal health care that doesn’t also offer universal drug coverage, and for this we have suffered. Our existing hodgepodge of private drug plans and patchy public coverage puts too many Canadians at risk. At any given time, thousands face aggravated illness and needless suffering because they can’t afford the rising price of drugs

  • New report gives troubling new perspective on Ontario’s opioid crisis

    … n 2014, far more Ontarians died using opioids than in motor vehicle collisions. Many of these deaths, almost 60 per cent, affect a fairly young population – those between the ages of 15 and 44… in the fiscal year 2012 there were 7.4 million opioids dispensed through prescriptions. By 2014, that number had risen to 9 million… Ontario is in the midst of a deepening opioid crisis.

  • Reverse 45 years of neglect of health centres

    … there is a growing body of evidence that the belief espoused by the [1972] Hastings report — “that some shift from the present emphasis on acute hospital in-patient care… offers a means of slowing the rate of increase in health-services spending” — is correct… [CHCs] have been shown to reduce avoidable use of hospital emergency rooms, improve accessibility and comprehensiveness of health and social services in rural areas, and enhance the accessibility and effectiveness of mental-health and addictions programs…

  • Community care eases pressure on hospitals

    The rhetoric suggests that hospital funding has been limited in order to drastically increase funding for home and community care. In reality, funding for home care increased from 4.32 per cent to 4.92 per cent of the total health budget between 2008/09 and 2015/16. Funding for community support services, including home support, respite care, Alzheimer’s day programs and Meals on Wheels increased from 1.24 per cent to 2 per cent. As hospital funding makes up a full third of the total health budget, pitting the two sectors against one another doesn’t make much sense.

  • Ontario must increase funding for hospitals

    … although Ontario’s population has increased by 36 per cent since 1990 and the percentage of seniors who need more care is growing, the province has purposely shrunk its hospital system. In 1990 there were 33,403 acute-care hospital beds; today there are only 18,571… The current shortage of funds is endangering patient care, increasing the risk of infections, and dangerously stressing out hospital staff. It’s also cutting into hospitals’ budgets for capital projects, equipment and research

  • Why stop with pot? Let’s decriminalize all drugs

    The war on drugs has been an abject failure on many levels and none more so than the fact that, in our society, there is much more abuse of drug users than there is abuse of drugs. That needs to stop, for economic and health reasons. Decriminalization is not, as some contend, giving up on people. On the contrary, it is about giving them responsibility along with rights.