On Monday, Finance Minister Goodale tabled legislation to implement the governments 10-year plan for improving health care. Though the legislation itself is simply part of the process of implementing the plan that was agreed to last September, its tabling should spur Canadians to again consider the merits of the 10-year Plan to Strengthen Health Care.
The Rebirth of Medicare in Saskatchewan: Steps Toward an Accessible, High Quality, and Sustainable Health Care System
Last Thursday, the New England Journal of Medicine published an article claiming that administrative costs of health care in the United States are higher than in those in Canada: $1,059 (US) in the United States versus $307 (US) in Canada. The lead author, Professor Woolhandler of Harvard Medical School, has written a number of similar articles over the years, all with the conclusion that the United States should embrace government monopoly health insurance like we have in Canada.
Worried about rising expenditures for prescription drugs, many states are employing preferred lists to encourage doctors to prescribe older, lower-priced drugs and forego the latest, more expensive medicines.
If Congress succeeds in passing a Medicare prescription drug benefit this year, the debate over preferred drug lists - now raging in numerous states - is likely to explode onto the national stage.
The lists - also known as formularies - are, whether we like it or not, a form of rationing. Ask any Canadian.
The existence of independent provincial Pharmacare programs and private insurance for prescription drugs is considered by some to be a blot on Canadian medicare. They want these options abolished in favour of National Pharmacare.
Health care costs are rising, and prescription drugs are taking up a larger share of those costs, but the change is a lot less dramatic than people think. Prescription drug costs were 8 percent of total health costs in 1991, and 12 percent in 2001, an average increase of less than half a percentage point a year.