BY: ALLISON BROWN
There are so many issues related to healthcare that are being discussed now which provides opportunities to make decisions to positively impact the lives of Canadians. Issues that are complex and deserving of very thoughtful discussion of those that will be making decisions on behalf of all Canadians.
I was watching the fifth estate this past week, the issue was Canada’s lack of a National Drug Plan. From what I saw during the discussion between the Federal Minister of Health, Jane Philpott and the reporter was that, Canadians are paying some of the highest costs for drugs in Canada. We do not have a system in favour of the average Canadian citizen. The system is in favour of the pharmaceutical companies.
An example of a medication for hypertension was provided. Canadians pay on average $130 per year for this medication. However, in one of the European countries with a National Drug Plan, the same drug costs $10 per year. According to Minister Philpott, no one has touched this issue in years and the system has been bereft of regulations.
A National Drug Plan will encourage competition and drive the costs of medication down and deter the existing monopolies.
I have said this in the past, in order for things to change, it is those in power who must have the will to make changes. Those in positions of power need to be empathetic to the impact of issues on the average Canadian. Unfortunately, those making decisions are usually in financial positions to afford the exorbitant costs of medication and or have comprehensive drug plans.
On the provincial front, Ontario Premier, Kathleen Wynne has indicated that the provincial government will cease covering the cost of diabetic testing strips for type II diabetes based on the current research. Many type II diabetics now who do not have a health plan will not get their strips covered. If this practice is based on research, why are doctors still prescribing blood glucose checks for type II diabetics as part of their diabetic regimen?
Provincially and federally there are longstanding and historical disparities in the health care provided to our Indigenous peoples and disparities in the policies of health care from province to province.
State side, the Americans will be dealing with the repeal of Obamacare by the Republican Party. I cannot understand how $ 1.7 trillion dollars was spent on the war in Iraq and yet to provide health care for the most valuable asset in a country (it’s people) would cost the same amount of money with a resultant $500 billion in revenue.
Having just turned fifty myself, I have begun to believe that we all have our fifteen minutes of fame. Someone very special has told me that in life whatever we face has a beginning, a middle and an end. Nothing lasts forever. So, what I do not understand is why some people in power do not make decisions in the best interest of those they serve. People are governing themselves around the decisions that governments which can be a source of added stress. Technically, we pay our taxes which should be in turn used to pay for solutions in the best interest of the people, not the interest of big business or politicians pandering to party politics.
Health care is an issue that has many complexities and requires a vision for the future years to come. It demands the attention of those who must be sincere, empathetic, analytical and pragmatic. It must be addressed as part of other areas of government and not in a silo.
As the New Year begins to unfold, I feel blessed and privileged to continue to share my thoughts about healthcare with you. Thank you to Grant Browning and Alyssa Mahadeo for the opportunity to continue to share my thoughts.
This article is dedicated to Grant, Alyssa, Hyacinth, and Ezra.