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Archive for 'health care'

Alex Usher Needs to Consider Taxation

My debate with Alex Usher on tuition fees continues, over at the Academic Matters web site.  In my latest post, I make the case that Mr. Usher needs to consider Canada’s tax system when suggesting that reducing tuition fees is “regressive.”

Alex Usher is Wrong on Tuition Fees

Earlier today, over at the Academic Matters web site, I addressed the issue of whether Canada’s current system of high tuition fees and means-tested student aid is in fact “progressive.”  My post was a response to a Alex Usher‘s May 9 blog post.  My blog post can be found here.

More on the At Home/Chez Soi Study

Earlier this month, I blogged about the At Home/Chez Soi homelessness study prior to the release of its final report. Today I’ve blogged again, this time about the contents of the final report itself.  This second blog post, being rather long and nuanced, was written for the Homeless Hub.  It can be accessed at this […]

The dubious case for casinos

I got way off my usual research agenda this morning for a business panel on CBC radio. The topic was the economics of casinos, the result of the City of Surrey voting down a new casino proposal. I have often disparagingly compared stock markets to casinos, but in fact I knew relatively little about the […]

Three Cheers for the Fraser Institute!

At times, the Fraser Institute produces such helpful material. I hope they make their well-heeled funders, such as the multi billionaire Koch brothers, proud. However, I’m sure the Kochs are more concerned that missteps by their progeny Mitt and Ryan are derailing their chance to buy the US presidency. So back to the Fraser Institute […]

To address health inequalities, look beyond the role of individual responsibility

A new report by the Canadian Medical Association provides a timely reminder that money buys better health, even in a country with a universal public healthcare system. A poll commissioned by the CMA found a large and increasing gap between the health status of  Canadians in lower income groups (household income less than $30,000) and […]

Freedom from government services day

Well well, another misinformed tax freedom day has come and gone on June 12th.  To mark the occasion this year I wanted to skip over the very serious methodological flaws that others have pointed out, and take a look at several other items that Canadians are “free of” at various points.  By gaining “freedom” from the taxes […]

Poverty in Yukon

Last week I was in Whitehorse where I released a peer-reviewed policy report on poverty in Yukon. The report was part of the much larger Social Economy Research Network of Northern Canada project. Report findings include the following: -Ignoring poverty can be quite costly, as has been clearly demonstrated by research on the ‘costs of […]

Meilinomics II: Income from Within

The following is another excerpt from Dr. Ryan Meili’s new book, A Healthy Society: How a Focus on Health Can Revive Canadian Democracy, which fellow blogger Greg Fingas has been discussing. The road to Tevele is red sand and sloppy in the rainy season. The pick- up truck bounces in and out of ruts as […]

Meilinomics I: The Little Boats

The following is an excerpt from Dr. Ryan Meili’s new book, A Healthy Society: How a Focus on Health Can Revive Canadian Democracy. There’s a family that comes frequently to the West Side Clinic; we’ll call them Lucas and Annie. Hardly a week goes by that I don’t see them in for a medical visit […]

Wall Strikes Out on Fiscal Federalism

Saskatchewan’s Brad Wall recently issued a statement exhorting his fellow Premiers to blaze largely unspecified new trails on healthcare, Employment Insurance and Equalization. Unfortunately, he misses the ball on all three issues. Greg Fingas and Verda Petry have already refuted Wall’s call for further healthcare privatization. On Employment Insurance, Wall implies that eastern Canadians are […]

A prescription for health care reform: think integration & collaboration

This morning the CCPA released a new report (co-authored by yours truly) that looks at the thorny issue of health care reform in BC (and Canada) and identifies some practical, evidence-based strategies that have been successful in improving quality of care and controlling costs in other jurisdictions. The papers comes out at a time when […]

Impact of Increased Health Privatization on PSE

An article in yesterday’s Village Voice looks at the rising costs of post-secondary education (PSE) in the United States. It points to research suggesting that the “biggest single factor” contributing to the rising cost of PSE for both private and public institutions is the cost of employee health benefits. I would infer from the above that, insofar […]

Is Money Enough? The Meaning of 6% and Flaherty’s Health “Plan”

As Christmas presents go, this one was a shocker:  Over lunch on Monday, cash-strapped Finance Minister Jim Flaherty promised provincial and territorial finance ministers he’d increase federal funding for health care by six per cent each year for the next five years.  No strings attached. No negotiations.  A done deal.  With a catch. The provinces […]

Conservative Health Transfers

During the federal election, I noted in a Toronto Star op-ed that the federal Conservative platform entails significant fiscal costs for provincial governments. I accepted the Conservatives’ promise to continue the 6% escalator for the Canada Health Transfer, but worried that they might cut other transfers of similar value. Today, the Finance Minister unveiled plans […]

The Economic Impacts of Breast Cancer

A research paper published by the Canadian Breast Cancer Network underlines that the economic costs of cancer are huge due to a lack of supportive public and workplace  policies. As they say ” we may think of breast cancer as a health condition, but it is also an economic condition.” Based on surveys of former […]

The Sask Party’s 0.1% Health Plan

The banner headline, in block capitals, on the front page of yesterday’s Regina Leader-Post was “SASK. PARTY HAS FIVE-POINT HEALTH PLAN.” That’s accurate reporting, as far as it goes. The Saskatchewan Party did announce a healthcare plan featuring five points. It would have been similarly accurate to report that this announcement was accompanied by a […]

Sask Party Healthcare Math

Yesterday, the Saskatchewan Party claimed that the provincial NDP’s plan for 30 additional primary healthcare clinics would cost $840 million. It has since removed this goofy press release from its website, but here’s a screenshot. The Sask Party multiplied the Saskatoon Community Clinic’s $7-million annual provincial cost by 30, and then multiplied that total by […]

Student Debt Rising Amongst New Physicians

Newly-released data indicate that student debt is rising amongst new physicians in Canada. In 2010, 23 percent of medical residents reported having more than $120,000 in education-related debt upon completion of their residency training (as compared with just 17 percent in 2007). (Note: across Canada, average tuition fees for medical students amount to just over $10,000 a year.) This appears to have […]

The Ontario NDP Platform

Pollsters tell us that Ontario’s New Democrats may double their seat total in next month’s provincial election. It’s also entirely conceivable that they could be part of a coalition government at Queen’s Park. But what’s actually in the party’s election platform? One central feature of the NDP’s proposals is to implement a tax credit for companies that hire new workers. The tax […]

McGuinty Proposes Undergraduate Tuition Grant

An Ontario election is slated for October 6, and the reigning Liberal Party will attempt to pull off a third consecutive majority government. In that vein, the Liberals have recently made a slew of campaign promises in the post-secondary education (PSE) sector. Notably, they’ve committed to reducing undergraduate tuition for “middle-class Ontario families” by 30 percent, amounting […]

The Double Whammy of Defunding Universities

As I’ve blogged about here, federal funding for post-secondary education (PSE) in Canada is decreasing.  Between 1985-1986 and 2007-2008, annual federal cash transfers to Ontario for PSE (in constant 2007 dollars) decreased from roughly $1.4 billion to just under $1 billion. (Yet, during that same period, PSE enrolment in Ontario increased by more than 60 percent). And as I’ve written about […]

The Town Without Poverty

A guest post from Richard Pereira, a recent winner of the PEF Essay Contest… – Canadian Economics Association – The Town Without Poverty There were hundreds of speakers at this year’s CEA conference in Ottawa.  About a dozen of these were designated “Special Lectures/Conférences spéciales” and among them were Jack Mintz on “The GST After […]

Healthcare in Rural and Northern Ontario

The Ontario Nurses’ Association has released a research paper by PEF-member Salimah Valiani on health and healthcare in rural and northern Ontario. It analyzes socio-economic and environmental forces that contribute to lower health outcomes, labour-process data drawn from focus groups with front-line nurses, and how to alleviate the nursing shortage.

Hillman Prize for Canadian Investigative Journalism

I was one of the three judges for the inaugural Canadian incarnation of the Hillman Prize for Investigative Journalism.  Sidney Hillman was a founding organizer of the garment union in the U.S., and left a legacy that has been used to fund an annual U.S. award for reporters who take the time & risk to […]

Avoiding a really bad drug trip – Pharmacare versus CETA

Boomers are getting blamed for an awful lot of fiscal problems these days. But blaming an aging population for healthcare costs spiraling out of control is misplaced. Missing opportunities to manage and contain costs is the real culprit. Take, for example, our spending on prescription drugs. Costs in that part of the healthcare system have […]

Why incentive pay won’t fix education or health care

It turns out — surprise! — that it’s really hard to measure quality in complex social systems and that employing simplistic quantitative measures can backfire. That’s the take-home message from a recent talk by UC Berkley economist and public policy professor Jesse Rothstein who came to SFU to present his latest research on using standardized […]

The OECD Attack on Medicare

The OECD Economic Survey of Canada (unfortunately only a summary is available on line) was released this week, and its call to impose user fees or deductibles on services covered by Medicare (ie physician and hospital care) received quite a lot of media coverage.  I saw OECD economist Peter Jarrett doing at least two TV […]

Recession Reduces Health Care Utilization

Here’s a fascinating finding from an NBER study: “The Economic Crisis and Medical Care Usage,” by Annamaria Lusardi, Daniel Schneider, and Peter Tufano (NBER study #15843). They undertook a broad public survey across 5 countries (the U.S., Canada, U.K., Germany, and France) on the economic and social impacts of the recession.  The survey covered over […]

Congress Passes Healthcare – I Told You So

This evening, the U.S. House of Representatives passed Obama’s healthcare bill. Two months ago, I was the odd man out on a Business News Network panel (watch video). The day after the Massachusetts by-election, I was talking about Democrats redoubling their efforts and being more aggressive in putting forward a progressive agenda. By contrast, one […]