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First and foremost, the homeless need housing

Monday, October 14th, 2019

Despite some notable success stories, most people don’t magically get better when housing is available… people with severe mental-health issues, substance-use disorders and the other illnesses and social challenges that come along with them need a lot of support… Housing first is a way of saying we haven’t given up on people and on the belief that homelessness can be, if not eliminated, at least managed more effectively and humanely.

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There are more doctors that are women, but gender equity remains elusive

Wednesday, October 9th, 2019

… until we better support women in their roles as mothers and physicians, gender equality in medicine will remain elusive and too much of the money and effort we put into training doctors will be lost because we refuse to acknowledge that medicine is no longer a boy’s club.

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Canada shouldn’t welcome birth tourists

Thursday, October 3rd, 2019

Birth tourism rankles the public because it feels like cheating… The way to do that is to adopt visa restrictions – denying visas to women who are coming to Canada expressly to give birth, and to crack down on both brokers and birth houses… Canada should remain a welcoming country but not one whose citizenship is for sale.

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Posted in Inclusion Policy Context | 1 Comment »


Smart health-care policy must include affordable housing

Tuesday, September 17th, 2019

The link between housing and health is clear: You can’t live a healthy life if you don’t have a roof over your head. Without stable housing, people die younger, suffer more and have more severe chronic illnesses, make far more emergency room visits, are more likely to be hospitalized and readmitted, and stay longer in hospital when they are admitted.

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The digital revolution is coming to health care. Are we ready?

Thursday, August 22nd, 2019

We are told that there are overwhelming privacy concerns with electronic communication. Again, this is bunk. If we can safely do our banking online, we can certainly manage health interactions… What technology does is to empower consumers. It may also cost doctors and hospitals in dollars and power… Technology is going to change the patient-clinician relationship.

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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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