Thursday, December 22, 2016

Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Linda McQuaig writes about the dangerous spread of privatized health care which threatens to undermine our universal system:
Privatization advocates want us to believe public health care is no longer affordable. But in fact, it’s private, for-profit medicine that’s unaffordable.

The publicly funded portion of our health care spending – doctors’ fees and hospital stays – has remained fairly stable as a percentage of GDP for more than 30 years. What is out of control is the part controlled by the private sector – drugs, home care, physiotherapy, etc.

If we want to control health care costs, we should extend the publicly funded portion, not open more services to the private sector. But that would require more public funding, which provincial and federal governments, after years of deep tax cutting, are reluctant to commit to.

High drug prices, for instance, are a major contributor to rising costs. The solution, as many studies have shown, would be a national universal pharmacare program, which would cost money to get started but ultimately save Canadians billions of dollars a year.
In an age when the rich demand a fast lane to the front of every line, it will require resolve and determination to preserve our medicare system, a bastion of equality sharply at odds with the heartless corporate world we inhabit.
- Noah Smith discusses the connection between work and dignity, while noting that there's no reason to pretend there's any lack of work to be done by people who would like the opportunity to do it. But Van Badham notes that workers are instead being treated as disposable, with new challenges to employment and life security surfacing regularly. And Vincent McDermott highlights a Canadian example, as 170 camp workers near Fort McMurray are being terminated on Boxing Day for not agreeing to forfeit half of their income.

- Meanwhile, Elizabeth Thompson points out how the requirement of a high-speed Internet connection may freeze applicants from rural areas out of federal tribunal positions. And while the CRTC's steps to declare broadband Internet a "basic service" may help in the long run, they represent cold comfort for anybody whose employment prospects are limited now.

- The Australian Associated Press reports on research showing the minimal costs of paid domestic violence leave - such that there's no excuse for forcing anybody to suffer an abusive relationship in order to avoid employment consequences.

- Finally, Jennifer Graham, Jordan Pearson and Alex MacPherson each discuss the Wall government's refusal to be honest or accountable about past pipeline inspections. And Keith Leslie reports that Ontario's government has been tampering with document receipt dates in order to pretend to comply with its access-to-information obligations.

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