Medicare is the third rail of Canadian politics. Touch it and you die. Every politician knows this truism, which is why no one wants to debate it. Privately, many of them understand that the health-care system, which costs about $200 billion a year in public and private money, cannot continue as it is—increasingly ill-adapted to an aging population with public costs growing faster than government revenues.
In Chronic Condition, Jeffrey Simpson explores the options we have to grapple with this growing problem, including cuts in non-health-care spending, tax increases, various types of privatization, and finding savings within health care itself. His research takes him to emergency rooms and private clinics across Canada as he listens to health professionals, researchers, and administrators outline the challenges they face. Simpson examines the tenets of the medicare system that Canadians cling to so passionately.
Combining impressive research, political acumen, and a sense of civic urgency, Chronic Condition breaks the silence about the huge changes and real choices that Canadians face. It is a catalyst for a much-needed public debate about an essential Canadian service.