• 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.

  • Basic income is an opiate for the masses, not a sustainable solution

    In recent decades, the neo-liberal agenda… has created enormous amounts of wealth but not for everyone. Vast numbers of losers have also been created. A basic income would allow the neo-liberal agenda to remain intact. Job destruction could happen more easily. There would be less incentive for governments and the privileged to build a balanced economy that shrinks that wealth divide.

  • The ‘inverted justice’ of Canada’s family courts and how they got this way

    … in the 1980s and ’90s, there was a perfect storm of change. Legal feminism was increasingly informed by radical feminism; divorce came to be seen as a source of women’s poverty; family law had blossomed as a proper branch of practice; the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms “opened the door to greater legal and judicial participation in the formation of social policy” … In that climate emerged a social policy aimed at reducing poverty by focusing on private responsibility.

  • Tax Fairness? Maybe Next Year, Say Liberals

    Closing unfair and ineffective tax loopholes could have raised $16 billion. They failed to deliver, again, on their election promise to end the stock options deduction that gives almost a billion dollars to some of the richest people in Canada. They failed to make the tax system simpler or fairer… How long before regular taxpayers conclude that the promise of fair system was an empty one?