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Should we spend more on health? Only if we get better care 

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2020

… what the premiers are proposing is that the feds absorb some of their current spending. They want Ottawa to transfer money rather than use their own powers of taxation to increase revenues… This pandemic, more than anything, has exposed the shortcomings in health and welfare systems, particularly in caring for elders and other marginalized groups. That’s what we need to fix. The last thing we need is buck-passing.

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A long-term care home is no place for younger people with disabilities

Thursday, August 20th, 2020

“We don’t know how many young people are living in LTC homes. What we do know is there are far too many”… Self-directed or self-managed care programs exist all over Europe and in several Canadian provinces… The common assumption… is that institutional care is cost-effective and self-directed care is too expensive. But that’s not true.

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We must do more to protect people with dementia

Tuesday, August 4th, 2020

… 40 per cent of dementia cases could be prevented or delayed by targeting a dozen modifiable risk factors, ranging from making sure every child gets an education through to controlling high blood pressure… preventing dementia begins in childhood, not at retirement… countless lifestyle choices and public health measures can have a dramatic impact on our brains, and the health of individuals and societies more broadly.

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In the stay-at-home era, why have we so sorely neglected home care?

Tuesday, June 16th, 2020

The carnage in congregate care… obliges us to rethink elder care fundamentally. A good starting point is prioritizing home care. Ontario… has a $64-billion annual health care budget, of which $3-billion goes to home care and $4.3-billion to long-term care. (Individuals supplement those costs, often paying thousands of dollars out of pocket.) There are a little less than 100,000 residents in long-term care, and more than 700,000 who get home-care services.

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Posted in Child & Family Policy Context | 1 Comment »


Seniors’ care shouldn’t be a horror show, even when the pandemic is over

Sunday, April 12th, 2020

Both B.C. and Alberta have banned health care staff from working at multiple institutions, a common practice that allows the coronavirus to spread quickly. This should be a permanent policy, not a temporary one. There is no lack of work in nursing homes and long-term care. In fact, there are dire personnel shortages. But many employers refuse to offer full-time work so they can avoid paying benefits… who wants to put their life on the line for fifteen bucks an hour, no benefits – and no PPE?

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Shut it down: It’s time for Canada to get serious about social distancing

Thursday, March 12th, 2020

Canada needs to embrace social distancing… early implementation [of six social-distancing measures during past flu pandemics] delayed the peak in the number of infections, relieving the burden on health-care systems by spreading out the cases over a longer period of time… we can’t afford to become Italy, a country that was slow to act and is now paying a massive price, with more than 10,000 cases, 600 deaths and a collapsing economy.

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The future of medicare shouldn’t be left up to the courts

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2020

Most countries with universal health care have a mix of public and private provision and payment of care… Canada actually has more private spending and a greater dependence on private insurance than virtually every other country with universal health care… for prescription drugs, dental care, vision care, hearing aids, home care, long-term care and much more. Surely many of these services are “medically necessary,” but public access and funding is greatly lacking. Ultimately, we need to decide what is covered by medicare and what isn’t.

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Canadians with mental illness deserve access to medical assistance in dying

Tuesday, February 18th, 2020

There is no evidence vulnerable patients are being pushed into assisted death against their will. If anything, the contrary is true. MAID has become an option for the elite, while people with physical and mental disabilities have repeatedly had to turn to the courts to have their right to choose respected… We don’t insist that patients with terminal cancer content themselves with hopes and prayers, and we shouldn’t expect people with intractable mental illness to do so either.

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Should government have a say in what drugs are prescribed to patients?

Wednesday, December 18th, 2019

Canada is slow to approve new biosimilars; since 2006, Health Canada has approved only six, compared with 13 approvals by the European Medicines Agency. We also have among the highest prices in the world for both biologics and biosimilars, so more co-ordinated and aggressive price negotiations are required.

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Is a national pharmacare program any closer to reality?

Wednesday, December 11th, 2019

it’s delusional to think the Liberals will act anything other than slowly. While the purported savings are compelling, shifting spending from private drug plans to the public treasury is much less so. Not to mention that the provinces are, at best, lukewarm about the idea… The premiers want the escalator to increase to 5.2 per cent before they even consider pharmacare.

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