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.Read more
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.Read more