Federal Spending Power: The Makings of a Phoney Debate

There have been suggestions that the Conservative government’s forthcoming Throne Speech will surrender the federal spending power. Through an op-ed in today’s Globe and Mail, Bob Rae tries to position himself, and presumably the Liberal Party, as defenders of the power. This posturing will help the Conservatives woo Quebec nationalists and help the Liberals appeal to Canadians who believe in […]

Read more

Homelessness and health in Toronto

A dispatch from Nick Falvo, the winner of the undergraduate prize in the 2007 PEF essay contest. Nick works for Street Health in Toronto, and speaks to a newly released report: In 1992, Street Health conducted a groundbreaking research study on homeless people’s health and access to health care. The updated 2007 study finds that the shocking rates of violence, […]

Read more

Health care sustainability

I released a study today, How Sustainable is Medicare? A Closer Look at Aging, Technology and Other Cost Drivers in Canada’s Health Care System, available for download here. This essentially a national version of one I did last fall for BC only. With national data I was able to make projections 50 years into the future. The CP wire story […]

Read more

Closing the tooth gap

In Ontario, the election campaign is on. A topic of note is public dental care. Back in July, the NDP started the ball rolling: Calling poor dental health a “silent epidemic,” the leader of the Ontario New Democratic Party said Tuesday that the provincial government should provide care for children and low-income earners. Howard Hampton said an initial four-year program […]

Read more

Estimating Dr. Day’s conflict of interest

Sharpen your pencils, open your spreadsheets, everyone. It’s contest time! Following up on a recent post noting the major financial conflict of interest of the Canadian Medical Association calling for more private health care options, we can expect more ideological rhetoric to come in the next year as new CMA President Brian Day takes the helm next week. But as […]

Read more

Bulk purchasing pharmaceutical drugs

The Vancouver Sun is two for two! Another front page headline, this time pressing the case for bulk purchasing of pharmaceutical drugs. Bulk purchasing is but one of many policy options for reducing the cost of pharmaceuticals, and is generally the one that is the most palatable politically as it does not overtly challenge Big Pharma. Other, more potent options, […]

Read more

Ezra Klein on the health of nations

In the American Prospect, Ezra Klein compares five countries’ health care systems (hat tip to Mark Thoma). in spite of his general defence of Canada, there are a few areas where I think he gets it wrong and I have added in some comments in those places. The Health of Nations Here’s how Canada, France, Britain, Germany, and our own […]

Read more

Wait-Time Guarantees

  A big conference on this topic – and key Conservative promise – gets underway in Toronto today. Here’s a CLC commentary, from Executive Vice-President Barb Byers.. “  The Federal government has been busy introducing Canadians to the idea of “Patient Wait-Times Guarantees”. If patients are unable to receive treatment in a timely manner, Conservatives argue, the public health system […]

Read more

Can the US emulate single-payer health care?

Where I live in BC, the provincial government is doing its best to subtlely undermine public health care, rather than make the reforms countless commissions have recommended to make the system better. A full frontal assault is not possible due to the continuing popularity of a public model, but perhaps they think that if they mismanage the system enough and […]

Read more

Wait lists and innovation

It’s amazing how much can be explained by supply and demand. The big crisis in waiting lists in recent years has been concentrated in a few procedures, mostly knee and hip replacements and cataracts. These surgeries have been made much more widely available in recent years due to the advent of relatively non-invasive day surgeries in place of long hospital […]

Read more

Single-payer health insurance

Here’s a post from Economist’s View starting with a novel argument against single payer health insurance: that it would hurt innovation. Mark Thoma then rebuts and throws in some Paul Krugman for safe measure. Krugman makes an important point that often we assume that innovation is always a good thing. True, some innovations lead to better health outcomes. Others do […]

Read more

The Globe on drugs (2)

Since it appears to be drug day at RPE, I should mention as a follow-up to a previous post on the National Pharmaceuticals Strategy that I did track down the document in question, a NPS Progress Report,  and that the Globe reporter did indeed misrepresent the estimates of the cost of that program. The Globe stated that the Report “pegs […]

Read more

The Globe on drugs (1)

Today’s Globe and Mail features two excellent articles about drugs in Canada. The first makes some great points about what might be possible with a national pharmacare plan and how politics is getting in the way of doing the right thing. The second is about how profit-seeking by pharmaceutical companies is distorting the cost of treatment. In this case, doctors […]

Read more

From the mouth of the Fraser

Today’s report from the Fraser Institute finds that, surprise surprise, health care spending is unsustainable. Or at least that is what the Fraser’s funders want you to think. I find the Fraser Institute has an excellent knack for putting out media-friendly goodies that on closer examination do not stand up to scrutiny. But the media are generally not that interested […]

Read more

Pitfalls of private health insurance

It is fascinating to me that in the wake of the Chaoulli decision by the Supreme Court private options are becoming more commonplace in Canada, just as more and more sensible people in the US are calling for a Canadian-style universal public insurance model. Here’s Paul Krugman in the New York Times (as edited by Economist’s View) with a reminder […]

Read more

Health ministers on drugs

The Globe and Mail has coverage of a new report on the cost of a national pharmacare plan. I was not able to find a copy of the report cited on the National Pharmaceuticals Strategy website. Presumably it will be posted soon. I take issue with how this has been framed in the Globe. It is reported as something that […]

Read more

Paging Dr. Day

In the Brian Day vs. Jack Burak fight for the presidency of the Canadian Medical Association, why is Day just described as an advocate for privatized health care, as it this were just a policy matter. Day operates a private clinic in Vancouver, one that was opened, perhaps ironically, during the tenure of the NDP as a way of fast-tracking […]

Read more

Walkom puts Brian Day under the knife

Thomas Walkom peers more closely at the dubious arguments of Dr. Brian Day, the private health care guru on the verge of heading the Canadian Medical Association.   I went off to hear Brian Day again this week. … As always, Day was roguishly charming. A veteran of Vancouver’s scrappy media culture, he rarely bothers with building a logical argument […]

Read more
1 2 3