Michael Rachlis MD

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Let's have that Adult Conversation about Medicare

14 October 2012, 11:32 PM

I have an op ed in today’s Toronto Star replying to Globe columnist Jeffrey Simpson, former Bank of Canada Governor David Dodge, and others who say Canadians are too immature for the adult conversation we need to have about medicare. Simpson’s new book “Condition Critical: Why Canada’s health-care system needs to be dragged into the 21st century” is better than most centre-right critiques of medicare. But, his analysis is superficial and he omits key facts. He doesn’t seem to have heard of the quality agenda in health care and as result his analysis of the wait list issue is wholly inadequate. He hardly mentions public sector options to reduce wait times. Like others he fails to note either the Queensway surgicentre, North America’s largest out of hospital surgical facility, or Winnipeg’s Pan am Clinic. (You can read more about these innovative centres in a 2007 paper I co-authored.) And he implies support for user fees ten times before he dismisses them near the end of the book.

So let’s start the grown up conversation about medicare with public sector solutions. To quote Tommy Douglas, “It’s not too late to make a better world.”

Filed under Health Care Expenditures, Ontario health care, Wait Times

Toronto needs to re-examine its priorities

9 January 2012, 3:16 AM

Today, I participated in a press conference at Toronto city Hall to highlight the health risks from the impending city budget cuts. The press conference was organized by Russ Ford, executive director of LAMP (Lakeshore Area Multiservice Project) and Dr. Roy Male a family doctor at Regent Park Community Health Centre also spoke. In my statement I had three messages for the Mayor and Council:

1.      Toronto faces serious health issues now, before any cuts to existing programs

2.      The proposed cuts would make the current situation worse

3.      There are alternatives that must be considered before we compromise the health and well-being of Toronto’s citizens

Read the City report on proposed cuts. You can follow the ongoing coverage at the Toronto Star’s City budget site.

Filed under Interviews, Ontario health care

Good news about Medicare

10 November 2010, 1:21 AM

I have an op ed in today’s Toronto Star on Medicare’s good run. The Canadian Institute for Health Information released their annual health spending numbers two weeks ago. Health care costs have decreased their share of the economy or Gross Domestic Product (GDP) slightly in 2010 - from 11.9% in 2009 to 11.7% after shooting up from 10.7% in 2008. It turns out that almost the entire increase in 2009 was due to shrinkage in the economy not increased spending.

The graph below summarizes the Canadian spending data and indicates what the results would have been for 2009 and 2010 with 1998-2008 rates of economic growth. I have put together a few slides which summarize the new data for Canada and Ontario. Please use them and distribute them.

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Filed under Health Care Expenditures, Ontario health care, Presentations, Wait Times

Canada needs to beat more countries than the US at health care

9 July 2010, 11:28 PM

Canadians tend to mock Americans’ ignorance of our country and the rest of the world. We do know more about their country than they know about ours. But we also tend to be unsophisticated when it comes to the rest of the world.

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Filed under Ontario health care, US health reform

Apocalypse Not Now

30 June 2010, 4:00 AM

We have been hearing a lot this year that Medicare is unsustainable. The usual claim is that health care used to be 35% of provincial program spending but now is 40%+ and will be 80% by 2030 according to the TD Bank’s economics department. There are so many problems with these projections the mind spins. And, while the mind spins one becomes intensely nauseated at the use of this misanalysis - which is usually used to support a dismantling (quickly or incrementally) of the principles of public finance and non profit delivery.

... read full post »

Filed under Ontario health care

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