On March 18, the federal government announced an aid package to help workers and businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The package includes $27 billion in wage supports and enhanced benefits, and $55 billion in deferred income tax payments. It is supposed to ensure that workers and small businesses have the financial support they need to follow public health advice and stay home.
To slow the spread of COVID-19, our public health agencies are increasingly recommending social distancing and containment practices. These precautions are critical, and have implications for a growing number of workers, who may be forced out of a job due to workplace closures, shutdowns or layoffs.
At this time, it is impossible to know the course and consequences of COVID-19 cases arising from the novel coronavirus. A probable outcome seems to be a spread of the illness among the general population, before it stabilizes and/ or an effective vaccine is developed which could take several months or even longer
Seven years after its passage, the Affordable Care Act (widely known as Obamacare), has suffered its share of abuse. Yet after hundreds of bills to repeal it, two high-profile Supreme Court cases, and countless hours of strategizing in Washington and in state capitols across the country, it just won’t die.
Posted by Ryan Meili and Sarah Giles · October 16, 2015 1:17 PM
Picture this: a patient returns to the office for a follow-up visit with their physician. When asked how the prescribed treatment is working out, they answer: “I don’t know, I couldn’t afford to fill the prescription.”
Canadian economists received a pleasant surprise this year: expenditure growth on public health care in Canada finally appears to be slowing down. However, it is unclear if this slowdown is the result of explicit success in sustainably bending the cost-curve or more short-term cost-cutting in response to slower economic growth or future federal health transfers.
So is it a blip on the health care horizon or the beginning of a trend?
This past week, Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall took to Twitter to ask the question: “Is it time to allow people to pay for their own private MRIs in Saskatchewan like they can do in Alberta?” This came after a radio show in which he’d received a call from a patient who’s been waiting three months for an MRI — one of many Saskatchewan patients who are, understandably, frustrated by long waits for essential imaging services.
These wait times are a real problem. For that reason, we should be very wary of false solutions, and look first to evidence before rhetoric takes over.
On June 18, 2012, I joined dozens of health care providers and concerned citizens in Saskatoon for the 1st National Day of Action against the cuts to the Interim Federal Health (IFH) program, which then offered health coverage to refugees in Canada.
Health providers in scrubs and lab coats, sporting stethoscopes and placards with slogans, marched in similar demonstrations across the country. I remember being struck then by the fact that 50 years earlier in Saskatoon, doctors had gone on strike in opposition to the introduction of universal health insurance. Now here was a movement of physicians and other health professionals taking to the streets to defend universal care for the most vulnerable.
Posted by Ryan Meili · September 25, 2013 12:34 PM
Social factors play a significant role in determining whether we will be healthy or ill. Our health care is but one element of what makes the biggest difference in health outcomes. This has been understood for centuries, and empirically validated in recent decades with study after study demonstrating health inequalities between wealthy and disadvantaged populations.
Yet political conversations about health still tend to fall into familiar traps. When we talk about health we return by reflex to doctors and nurses, hospitals and pharmacies. And when we talk about politics — the field of endeavour with the greatest impact on what determines health outcomes — a narrow and economistic outlook seems to trump any attempts to address those social determinants.
I attended the annual meeting of the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) as a representative of Canadian Doctors for Medicare last year. The meeting was not at all what I'd expected.
The CMA, as a professional association representing doctors, has often been seen — fairly or unfairly — as working primarily for the interests of the physicians it represents with patients and health equity appearing at times to be an afterthought. This impression was particularly prevalent during the presidencies of Brian Day (2007-8) and Robert Ouellet, (2008-9), both vocal advocates for privatization (and owners of private, for-profit health care facilities) who used their tenure to advocate for greater private payment for essential health services.