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Drug executives face charges, just like street dealers

Saturday, April 27th, 2019

The U.S. government sent a powerful wake up call to drug company executives this week. For the first time, it charged a distributor of opioids, Rochester Drug Cooperative, its former CEO and another former executive with the kind of drug felony charges normally brought against the likes of street dealers and cartel bosses… In 2017 alone, 47,600 individuals in the U.S. died in opioid-related deaths, while the number in Canada was almost 4,000.

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Cutting out-of-country OHIP coverage is wrong and pointless

Thursday, April 25th, 2019

… the government paid out just $9 million last year for emergency coverage… a tiny fraction of one percentage point, of overall Ontario medical spending of $63.5 billion (with a b)… The government’s argument is that the existing program covers only a fraction of medical costs abroad. On that it’s correct… And it’s a gift to private insurers who no doubt will see a spike in business if all out-of-country coverage is yanked away.

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Public health squeeze is the unkindest cut of all from Ford

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2019

… this government’s method is to initially claim there are no cuts and then create confusion about what cuts it’s making and why. It leaves people on the ground scrambling to figure out what it means and when they say it means something terrible, as they have in this case, the government promptly denies it… It’s the province that’s sowing confusion, acting without consultation and downloading its health responsibilities onto municipalities…

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Ontario’s cuts to legal aid will hurt the poorest

Saturday, April 20th, 2019

It’s hard to fathom the fallout from the Ford government’s short-sighted decision to slash Legal Aid Ontario’s already inadequate budget by 30 per cent. The agency, established to provide legal services to the province’s most vulnerable citizens, was struggling to meet the need even before this. Its budget was so squeezed, in fact, that it could represent only people who are making less than about $17,000 a year. That’s far below the poverty line.
Even then, coverage was limited.

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The Ford government is trying to make itself less accountable

Tuesday, April 16th, 2019

… this is the government that made itself less accountable to the public by firing the independent watchdogs for children, francophones and the environment. Now it appears to be cutting off another avenue of accountability by introducing legislation that critics say would make it harder to take legal action against the government by increasing the threshold necessary to proceed with litigation… there’s one legal challenge the government can’t avoid. That’s the one coming from the Canadian Civil Liberties Association if the legislation is passed.

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Time to reveal individual MD’s OHIP billings

Sunday, April 14th, 2019

The fact is, releasing physician-identified billings is hardly groundbreaking. It already occurs in British Columbia, Manitoba and New Brunswick and in the United States. But in Ontario, taxpayers have been left in the dark, wondering what to make of a health ministry audit conducted five years ago that raised some troubling questions… Allowing questionable billings to go unchallenged only serves to unfairly tarnish the reputations of all doctors.

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Nova Scotia is showing the way on organ donation

Wednesday, April 10th, 2019

This is the first time what’s known as “presumed consent” legislation will become law anywhere in Canada or the United States. But it’s far from new elsewhere in the world… The fact is about 4,500 people are on waiting lists for organ donations in Canada in any given year and the wait for a transplant can be up to six years. Sadly, about 250 people die each year waiting for such organs as hearts and lungs.

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Ontario should get tougher on raising vaccination rates

Friday, April 5th, 2019

The numbers gathered by the Star from public health units around the province show vaccination rates vary considerably, but are too low to provide so-called “herd immunity” for the general population… The province should move toward eliminating non-medical exemptions for the vaccinations that children must have in order to attend school… Better to act now than to put health and lives at risk.

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As usual, Doug Ford has it wrong on carbon tax

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2019

… the real threat to our long-term future is precisely what the carbon tax is designed to head off — climate change… Economists of all political stripes agree that a carbon tax is the most effective way to cut back on greenhouse gas emissions… the way the government has structured it, most people stand to come out ahead once they’ve collected their tax rebate. The idea… is to raise the price of carbon-intensive activities and give people a financial incentive to reduce them.

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Canada’s national strategy on dementia must break the cycle of shame

Friday, March 29th, 2019

The recent federal budget contains a $50-million, five-year commitment for a strategy to support Canadians with cognitive decline, their caregivers and the health professionals who manage or research the disease. Details will be announced later this spring, and the Public Health Agency of Canada is to oversee the roll-out of the strategy. It had better be worth the wait.

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