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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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A tricky operation: Finding a place for private health insurance in a public system

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2019

Every health insurance program in the developed world, public and private, is struggling with a daunting triple challenge: An aging population, the soaring cost of new technologies and rising consumer expectations… private sector efficiency is a myth. Private hospitals keep patients longer, order more tests, prescribe more drugs and provide a lot of low-value or no-value care. They overtreat and overcharge… private hospitals are not going to solve the woes of Canadian medicare

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Posted in Health Policy Context | 1 Comment »


Some harsh lessons on the failings of eldercare from Down Under

Wednesday, November 13th, 2019

The 272-page Australian report, in striking contrast, uses blunt language to reflect the frustrations and fears of patients and family members. It also demands immediate action, including an injection of funding for long-term home care services as a way to keep people out of institutional care.

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How can we ration health care, without discrimination?

Wednesday, October 30th, 2019

Health-care providers cannot refuse care based on prejudices or stereotypes, but they can refuse or limit care if a medical condition could result in significant complications or costs. But exclusion criteria must be clear and based on evidence, and we can’t let bias creep in when making difficult rationing decisions… we have to debate these mind-bogglingly complex questions openly, not just punt them to the courts.

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To improve health care, we need to plan our work force of the future

Friday, October 25th, 2019

We need to rethink our traditional approach of strictly controlling the number of health workers we educate and train and turn to oversupply, knowing that many will be wooed away… One in five nurses in Canada leaves their job each year, and the turnover costs are enormous… [We must] ensure jobs are meaningful, appropriate and, most of all, that there are people to fill the posts that are so essential to our care.

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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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Posted in Equality Debates | No Comments »


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 | 2 Comments »


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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