Wednesday, April 04, 2018

Wednesday Evening Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Andre Picard writes about the unjustifiable limitations and inconsistencies in Canada's health care system:
Break your leg and the X-ray and cast will be covered, but you will need to pay for the crutches. Break your jaw and it will be wired at no cost; break your teeth and you will pay the dentist. Get cancer treatment at the hospital and there will be no charge; take the same oncology medication at home and you will pay dearly. Suffer from severe depression and your hospitalization will be covered, but psychological care and medications will not be covered by public insurance after you’re released. If you have diabetes and live in Quebec, many more of your drugs and supplies will be covered than in neighbouring New Brunswick. Need trauma care while visiting another province, and you could get stiffed with a big air ambulance bill. Live out your final days in a hospital and the state will pick up the tab, but do so in a nursing home and you will pay.

The list of inconsistencies and absurdities is a long one. Coverage often depends on where you live, where you work, your age – but more than anything, public coverage is limited by historical accident.
The inconsistent coverage of mental health care (and psychological services in particular), home care and prescription drugs has been the subject of much debate, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg.

If we are going to have a semblance of a national health system across 13 provinces and territories – without forgetting the large federal health system – it’s important to have equitable (not equal) access for all Canadians. Yet, the variations in coverage between jurisdictions have never been more pronounced.
Medicare cannot provide all care to all people at all times. We need to make tough choices on what is, and isn’t, in the medicare basket of services. We need to eliminate obsolete and wasteful practices, and embrace only new ones that are cost-effective.

We have the tools to do so. But good evidence isn’t enough. As the report notes, we need to “translate the language of science and evaluation into the language of decisions and public policy.”
- Jocelyn Timperley explores the long-term economic benefits of fighting climate change now, rather than having to answer for its effects later. And Merran Smith discusses the obvious risks of being left behind in a global transition to clean energy.

- Tammy Robert examines the Saskatchewan public's widespread recognition of the problem of climate change and willingness to help fight it - no matter how obstinately Scott Moe and the Saskatchewan Party try to stand in the way. And Jennifer Quesnel takes a look at the modest effect of an Alberta-style carbon tax even before accounting for rebates and investments from the new public revenue.

- Finally, Tom Parkin weighs in on the mirror-image cynicism of Doug Ford and Kathleen Wynne in Ontario's election campaign. And Donald Savoie discusses how Justin Trudeau is either taking Atlantic Canada for granted, or abandoning it altogether.

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