Friday, August 05, 2016

Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Melisa Foster points out why millennials should be strongly interested in a national pharmacare program:
Today, young Canadians are searching for jobs in an economy with high levels of precarious employment, unemployment or underemployment. According to a recent Statistics Canada labour force survey, approximately 39% of workers 15 to 29 are precariously employed. That means that almost half of millennials between 15 and 29 are part-time, temporary or self-employed workers, and likely don’t have access to employer-run private health insurance plans. An estimated one out of every four Canadians who are uninsured cannot afford their prescriptions.

Canada’s patchwork pharmacare system compounds these obstacles further. Provinces, territories and the federal government each fund drug therapies for a distinct portion of the population. Your postal code and socioeconomic status continue to dictate your ability to access the medication you need, making drug coverage highly inequitable. Too many are forced to pay out of pocket for prescription drugs they can’t afford to go without.
Understandably, prescription drug coverage only becomes a concern for many individuals when high costs limit their access. But if you haven’t personally experienced problems with drug coverage or the consequent poor health outcomes that far too many Canadians have, there is a high probability that your friend or loved one has.

Millennials must begin to understand who is involved in the decision making process and how we can work together to close the gaps in access. Parents and children have a responsibility to voice their concerns and demonstrate the struggles that arise as a result of the patchwork system.
- Bruce Sherman examines the role the health care system can play in addressing the social determininants of health. Owen Davis highlights the importance of addressing inequality in order to improve mental health. And Araz Rawshani, Ann-Marie Svensson, Björn Zethelius, Björn Eliasson, Annika Rosengren, and Soffia Gudbjörnsdottir study the connection between low incomes and mortality from diseases including diabetes and cancer.

- Linda McQuaig argues that the Ontario Libs' privatization of Hydro One is indefensible - particularly based on the excuse of "broadening" ownership in a utility shared in by every citizen of the province. David Bush points out that Canada Post's bargaining strategy seems to be intended to allow it to sell itself off for parts before a government review of its future is complete. And Duncan Kinney discusses how Alberta is trying to remedy the damage from a power purchasing scheme which allowed corporations to take easy profits then leave the province holding the bag during lean times.

- Finally, Paul Dechene examines the state of pipeline regulation in Saskatchewan, featuring Emily Eaton's observation that "almost no oil and gas infrastructure in the province undergoes an environmental impact assessment". Julie Dermansky points out that Saskatchewan is far from the only jurisdiction with an epidemic of spills arising out of lax regulation, as a single Louisiana parish has been hit by three in ten days. Robyn Allan notes that British Columbia is picking up much of the tab for the cleanup from the Mount Polley mine disaster. And Mike De Souza reports on the National Energy Board's deception about its meeting with Jean Charest while he was under contract with TransCanada.

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