Health reforms

Posted on April 21, 2011 in Health Delivery System

Source: — Authors: , , – news/opinions/letters-to-the-editor – What Readers Think April 20
Published Wednesday, Apr. 20, 2011.   Tom McIntosh, Michael O’Shea, Paul Moist

One can only assume that Michael Bliss’s lips got tired before he actually finished reading the Romanow report (The Right Way To Reform Health Care – April 19). As the Romanow commission’s research co-ordinator, I would like to point out that it involved much more than throwing more money at the system.

That the federal government and the provinces focused only on filling the so-called “Romanow gap” in system funding rather than on engaging the hard choices Mr. Romanow proposed should not be blamed on the messenger.

The commission had two goals. First was the accumulation of the best evidence available including 40 published research reports that ran the gamut of the ideological spectrum. The second was a multifaceted approach to getting citizens involved in thinking about not only what they needed from the system but also how it should be financed, organized and reformed.

Tom McIntosh, associate professor and head, political science, University of Regina


A royal commission may be an option to open the Pandora’s box of the Canadian health-care system. The problem is the 50,000-foot view of problems and recommended solutions. A pragmatic approach would be to analyze the cost drivers in one or two of the country’s regional health authorities.

Using financial and demographic data, initiate a systematic review of the activities that contribute to the cost. Its purpose would be to identify the largest cost drivers, review the activities contributing to them, benchmark against world-class health organizations, redesign the process as required, implement and evaluate. The underlying purpose of the review would be to determine if we can do better with the same resources. Until we answer this question, large-scale changes to health-care policy are premature.

Michael O’Shea, Nanaimo, B.C.


Another royal commission on health care is completely unnecessary, and would only provide the proponents of privatization yet another opportunity to derail the urgent work needed to strengthen our public health-care system.

The Romanow commission heard from Canadians across the country and clearly articulated our national desire to maintain a universal public health-care system based on the principal of equity.

Successive Liberal and Conservative federal governments, however, have failed to follow through on key Romanow recommendations, namely a national pharmacare program to tackle the continually rising cost of prescription drugs, and a national home and long-term care program to effectively care for our aging population.

Instead of another commission, what Canada’s public health-care system really needs is a federal government that will commit to strengthening our public system, not dismantling it, and spur the development of national pharmacare, home and long-term care programs that will ensure all Canadians get the care they need.

Paul Moist, national president, Canadian Union of Public Employees, Ottawa

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