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To bolster health, would basic income — not pharmacare — make more sense?

Tuesday, June 25th, 2019

… shouldn’t the priority of policy-makers be to ensure that all Canadians can afford necessities such as food and housing, not just prescription drugs? … Affordable sickness care is important, especially if you’re sick. But the way to keep people healthier longer is to ensure that they have a decent income, a roof over their heads, healthy food, a good education, a sound physical environment and sense of belonging.

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Putting values into practice on pharmacare will come at a cost

Friday, June 14th, 2019

The catch is that there would be a massive shift of drug costs from private plans to public plans, an “incremental public cost” of $15.3-billion… Practically, it also means the feds would have to raise taxes by at least $15-billion a year. That, not poor values, is the single biggest impediment to national pharmacare. The other related hurdle is that a national plan would require an unprecedented level of federal-provincial-territorial co-operation.

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Is beer in corner stores bad for our health?

Tuesday, June 4th, 2019

One thing that is clear from research is that the greatest impact on alcohol consumption comes from pricing policies. The cheaper alcohol is, the more people consume. Yet we don’t talk about the benefits of high taxes or floor prices. That’s why buck-a-beer policies and rhetoric should concern us much more than where products are sold.

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Bedlam over beds: We can no longer ignore our long-term-care crisis

Tuesday, May 28th, 2019

In Ontario … the wait list for long-term care is a staggering 34,000 people… Long-term care is a $70-billion-a-year business but consumers – and government in particular – can be parsimonious in what they are willing to pay to care for individuals… Far too many Canadians learn the hard way that long-term care is not only costly, but there isn’t much government support… most long-term care is paid out-of-pocket.

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Should we cover the health bills of snowbirds and cross-border shoppers?

Tuesday, April 30th, 2019

Anyone who is foolish enough to travel without first purchasing private health insurance faces the prospect of catastrophic medical bills, with or without this program. The OOC program is also highly inefficient. A lot of time, energy and money is spent making piddling payments: There are about 88,000 claims a year, and the average reimbursement is $127. Put another way, it costs $2.8-million to pay $9-million in claims and those payments cover less than 5 per cent of travellers’ medical bills.

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Ontario’s response to the opioid crisis? Offer less help, and fewer answers

Monday, April 1st, 2019

Using Orwellian doublespeak – plus a dash of Trumpian random capitalization – the government was not announcing that it was “continuing to build a connected mental health and addictions treatment system”, but rather that it was cutting the legs from under four badly-needed overdose prevention sites, rejecting two others, and continuing to drag its feet on funding of additional sites.

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Tilting at windmills won’t solve our health-care woes

Monday, February 4th, 2019

Almost all health services are contracted out to private providers – doctors (most of whom are corporations), hospitals (which are not-for-profit corporations), pharmacies, pharmaceutical companies, device manufacturers (for-profit corporations), home care and long-term care facilities (a mix of non-profit and for-profit corporations) and so on…. we have the least-universal universal health-insurance system in the world. More than 30 per cent of care is paid for privately.

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Sex-ed critics fear that it may ‘give kids ideas.’ But that would be a good thing.

Tuesday, January 15th, 2019

The fundamental complaint of those who oppose modernizing sex-ed seems to be that it will “give kids ideas” – in other words, that teaching about sexuality will lead to sexual experimentation… Parents absolutely have a right to inculcate values on their offspring. But that does not extend to imposing ignorance on others. That is especially true because we know that unawareness and naïveté do not prevent young people from having sex – it simply makes them more likely to make poor choices.

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Following New Zealand’s lead on generic drugs would cut costs, study show

Friday, September 28th, 2012

Sep. 28 2012
Ontario could save an additional $250-million a year if it changed the way it buys generic drugs, and nationally, that figure could hit $1-billion… [by] switching to a tendering system under which generic manufacturers would bid to offer the best price to the drug plans that provide prescription medications to seniors and social assistance recipients.

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New CMA President: A view shaped by best and worst of care

Sunday, August 26th, 2012

15 August 2012
Dr. Reid said that the health-care system has become so big and complex that “we sometimes stray from what it is to be a healer”… the patient voice and the patient experience and the patient perspective has been so far from people’s minds for such a long time that it will take time for things to change… physicians face big challenges, including crushing workloads, scarce resources and loss of autonomy, but they cannot allow themselves to lose their identity as physicians and their primordial duty to patients. “Patient-centred culture does not cost a penny more”

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