• Time for full transparency on pharmaceutical money

    Industry funds physician education and helps create free medical textbooks that favour corporate products. These subtle forms of pay-for-play fill out industry’s marketing strategy that includes free lunches for residents and the funding of patient advocacy groups that lobby governments for drug and device approval and funding… transparency helps disentangle fraud from responsible corporate citizenship.

  • Ontario court orders end to secrecy around names of highest-paid MDs

    Ontario’s Divisional Court has ordered an end to the secrecy surrounding the province’s highest-billing doctors… The court accepted that the names of the doctors, in conjunction with the amounts they receive in OHIP payments and their medical specialties, are not “personal information.” They are, therefore, not exempt from disclosure under the province’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

  • Release full data on drug company payments to doctors

    Full disclosure will make physicians more cautious about accepting payments that may influence how they treat their patients, and researchers can actually measure the effects of those fees on doctors’ prescribing habits… pharmaceutical companies have made it clear to the government they will not voluntarily report how much they pay individual doctors. Now the government must step in as quickly as possible and force the issue.

  • If we don’t fix medicare, we may lose it

    … the Ontario Health Coalition is the latest to sound the alarm. It found that at least 88 private health clinics in six provinces regularly charge patients hundreds or thousands of dollars for needed diagnoses, tests or surgeries. In some cases, doctors levy user fees and bill the public system, charging twice for the same service… Such exploitative extra charges are prohibited by the Canada Health Act, yet these clinics operate with impunity.

  • Stop turning a blind eye to double-dipping docs

    Why aren’t the 12 medical associations that regulate doctors in the provinces and territories reining in this exploitative behaviour? And what about the people who are ultimately responsible for the health care system: the governments of the provinces and territories. Why aren’t they doing anything about it? … Ottawa and the provinces should at least regulate the fees charged by private clinics.

  • Some doctors are charging both government and patients privately in illegal double-dipping practice

    Even in Ontario, long considered tough on extra-billing, and where the government investigated 314 complaints in the last five years, none of the doctors involved was sanctioned. More than one-third were made to refund their patients, but were then able to bill the province for those treatments… “I think it’s an abdication of the responsibility of government,” says Dr. Etches, of Doctors for Medicare. “The private clinics are now deeply entrenched in the health-care system … and that lies at the feet of the politicians.”

  • Finance Minister Bill Morneau vows to close ‘unfair’ tax loopholes

    “When people see that the tax system is stacked against them, they can get frustrated. We need to make sure that everyone — especially including the middle class, the large group of people who don’t have access to these sort of planning methodologies — feels that the system is working for them.” … The secrecy afforded to private corporations is a central concern in the fight against tax unfairness…

  • Electricity policy: What went wrong in Ontario

    There is no way of de-risking long-term projects. Political acceptability – mutable as it may be – is an essential planning requirement… Do lead the narrative on needs, alternatives, outcome. Do allow time for people to come to the right conclusion. Do offer choices. Do model solutions. Do make the right choice easy, safe and cheap as possible.

  • There’s room for competition in public health care

    … in Britain, any reforms which encourage competition and choice are viewed as covert attempts to privatize our revered NHS (National Health Service)… Reforms in England have sought to increase competition between hospitals for public funds. The bottom line is these have benefited patients – but introducing more choice and competition also means the rules of the game need to be carefully designed and monitored.

  • Patchwork drug plans flout the foundations of medicare

    Ontario has seven (soon to be eight) distinct public drug plans… Despite the number of state-funded programs, almost half of Canadians rely on private insurance for coverage, most of which is employer-based… In Ontario alone, one in four people between the ages of 25 and 64 do not have drug insurance, according to Health Quality Ontario.