Monday, May 16, 2016

Monday Morning Links

Assorted content to start your week.

- Karen Palmer writes about a push by U.S. doctors to follow in Canada's footsteps with single-payer health care - even as a few profiteers seek to tear our system apart:
Global evidence shows that private insurance does not reduce public system wait times. The Achilles heel of health care in several European countries, such as Sweden, has been long waiting times for diagnosis and treatment in several areas, despite some private insurance. After Australia introduced private insurance to save the government money, those with private insurance have faster access to elective surgery than those without. Divisions in equitable access to care is one of the biggest challenges now facing countries that have adopted multi-payer systems.

Multi-payer systems are administratively complex and expensive, explaining why the U.S. health insurance industry spends about 18 per cent of its health care dollars on billing and insurance-related administration for its many private plans, compared to just 2 per cent in Canada for our streamlined single payer insurance plans. Hospital administrative costs are lowest in Canada and Scotland — both single payer systems — and highest in the U.S., the Netherlands, and the U.K. — all multi-payer systems.
Abundant evidence shows private insurance is at the root of what ails the U.S. system. Dr. Marcia Angell, co-author of the Physicians’ Proposal, Harvard Medical School faculty and former editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine, sums it up: “We can no longer afford to waste the vast resources we do on the administrative costs, executive salaries, and profiteering of the private insurance system.” 

A Canadian-style single payer financing system would save the U.S. about $500 billion annually.

Meanwhile, in Canada, abandoning our single payer health care system for a U.S.-style multi-payer system would be the worst possible outcome for Canadians.
- Amy Traub highlights how worker activism led to a substantial increase in the minimum wage paid to employees of U.S. government contractors. And Rosa Marchitelli examines the abuse of migrant farm workers as an example of what happens when employees are completely at the mercy of their employers and others.

- Samantha Page reports on new research showing the devastating environmental impact of fracking. And Jordon Cooper writes that we should see the Fort McMurray wildfire as exactly the time to discuss the wider effects of climate change.

- Chris York discusses Ken Loach's new film on the treatment of people who receive social assistance.

- Finally, Andrew Coyne rebuts a few of the more preposterous talking points against electoral reform. And Tom Parkin argues that we should expect a new electoral system to be based on equal representation, not the Libs' political interests.

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