You know that ad that has been running on TV for about the past month about the “elephant in the room”. The ad asks the question: who will pay for government services when there are more people using them, but no longer enough people paying into the system? The ad puts me in mind of Jeffrey Simpson’s lastest book, Chronic Condition, in which he examines Canada’s health care system. The book was recently awarded the Donner Prize which honours the Best Public Policy book by a Canadian.
The subtitle, Why Canada’s health-care system needs to be dragged into the 21st century, offers a glimpse of what’s inside. Simpson maintains that the system is too expensive, and is ill-adapted to an aging population. He provides a history of Canada’s health care system and shows why the medicare system that was developed in the last century no longer works. He compares ours with other publicly-funded health care systems that are providing a better level of service. He discusses the taboo subject of user fees.
A phrase commonly associated with the book describes our health care system as “a Chevrolet system at Cadillac prices.” Simpson has opened the way for a dialogue that is long overdue and hopefully a day when discussing health care reform is no longer political suicide.
Michael Enright recently spoke to Jeffrey Simpson about this book on the CBC program, Sunday Edition. The podcast can be found here: http://www.cbc.ca/thesundayedition/shows/2013/05/19/jeffrey-simpson-on-medicare-marcia-angell-on-living-a-goodlife-and-more/