Chronic Condition: Why Canada's Health Care System Needs To Be Dragged Into The 21c

Hardcover | September 18, 2012

byJeffrey Simpson

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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 meets health care head on and explores the only four options we have to end this growing crisis: cuts in spending, tax increases, privatization, and reaping savings through increased efficiency. He examines the tenets of the Medicare system that Canadians cling to so passionately. Here, he finds that many other countries have more extensive public health systems, and Canadian health care produces only average value for money. In fact, our rigid system for some health care needs and a costly system for other needs—drugs, dentistry, and home care—is really the worst of both worlds. Chronic Condition breaks the silence about the huge changes and real choices that Canadians face.

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From the Publisher

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 agi...

Jeffrey Simpson has been The Globe and Mail’s national affairs columnist for more than twenty-five years. He is also an award-winning author of eight previous books—including Discipline of Power, which won a Governor General’s Award—and is an officer of the Order of Canada. He lives in Ottawa with his family.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:400 pages, 9.25 × 6.26 × 1.27 inPublished:September 18, 2012Publisher:Penguin CanadaLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0670065897

ISBN - 13:9780670065899

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Reviews

Rated 3 out of 5 by from Worthwhile read Pros: Generally well-written, with a logical and fluid layout. It is probably about 50 pages too long, which results in many thoughts being revisited, including whole paragraphs almost verbatem. Use of multiple, global comparisons to Canada's healthcare system is well done and is definitely the strength of this review. To Mr. Simpson;s credit, the solutions laid out are many and varied, even if his leanings are evident and color much of his emphasis. Cons (I don't think Mr. Simpson would like me capitalizing that term): While the author does lay-out most of the issues besetting Canada's healthcare system, he emphasizes the solutions/ comparisons he finds most to his liking; for example, he dismisses studies that evidence private-pay healthcare as more efficient than public-pay, yet emphasizes the studies that evidence private-delivery is more effecient and acknowledges that it also makes more efficient public-delivery (its amusing that his economics training allows him to see the 2nd point as valid, but misses the first). On many occassions, Mr. Simpson attempts to suggest that income inequities cause much of the overuse of healthcare and if Canada could only redistribute income more generously than it could solve much of the problems plaguing it. Firstly, your econ professors would be appaled and secondly, my god that's simplistic thinking :) Oddly, for an author that painstakingly attepts to be non-political/ non-idealogocial, he takes gratuitous swipes at both the Conservatives in Canada (Mulroney was too smart a politican to let his disbelief in Medicare stop him from supporting it...this was the same PM that stood up to the country on Free Trade, but he caved on Medicare...amusing) and the Rebublicans in the US....no ideology here, what proper book on Canada's healthcare system wouldn't take several shots at a US political party :P. His choice of paper's to write for (G&M) and prior to that political parties to work for (NDP/ Broadbent) unfortunately take something from this book (rather it adds something to it, just not good) All-in-all, good read, as long as you can avoid Mr. Simpson's ideological leanings which manifest into a failure to ofer a complete picture of Canada's healthcare from a comparative standpoint.
Date published: 2013-02-03