Our Commentaries

Our Commentaries

Our expert advisors have written opinion pieces and health articles on important health policy topics, published in leading media outlets across the country. We are making these commentaries and articles available to everyone, free of charge, with a Creative Commons license, so that you may use them in your publication or on your website. See also our Commentaries in French. Download our free eBooks — a compendium of our commentaries: Making Evidence Matter in Canadian Health Policy, and Canadian Health Policy in the News: Why Evidence Matters.

Evidence is important to us, and we are committed to getting the evidence right — even when it can be interpreted in a number of ways. If you feel we have not represented the evidence accurately or fairly in these opinion pieces, please let us know. Browse our Commentaries by category, below, or view them all here.

AGING POPULATION AND
ITS POTENTIAL IMPACT
HEALTHCARE COSTS AND SPENDING
  • Canada relying too heavily on unpaid caregivers — at a cost
    Canada relying too heavily on unpaid caregivers — at a cost
    By Nicole F. Bernier

    The unexpected and largely unreported good news about homecare in this country is that the vast majority of Canadians who receive home help or homecare for a chronic health condition are getting all the services they need.

  • Why we need to rethink the nursing home model
    Why we need to rethink the nursing home model
    By Verena Menec

    How many nursing beds are needed in Canada to care for frail, elderly people with high care needs? That’s a question that policy makers across the country are grappling with, given the aging population and especially the rapidly growing number of very elderly people over the age of 85.

PRIVATE, FOR-PROFIT SOLUTIONS
TO FUNDING AND DELIVERY
HEALTH IS MORE THAN HEALTHCARE
  • Why Canadian medicare should neither ‘go Dutch’ or ‘to the dogs’
    Why Canadian medicare should neither ‘go Dutch’ or ‘to the dogs’
    By Ryan Meili

    First was Sarah Boston’s new book, Lucky Dog, in which she details her personal experience with thyroid cancer and navigating the Canadian health system. Boston, a veterinary oncologist, claims that Canadian dogs often have better access to health care than their human counterparts.

  • Cash for blood products a flawed policy
    Cash for blood products a flawed policy
    By Ryan Meili and Monika Dutt

    In the early 1980s, over 2000 Canadians who received blood transfusions were infected with HIV and as many as 30,000 contracted Hepatitis C. This tragic scandal, and the Krever inquiry that followed, resulted in the overhaul of our blood donation system to ensure the safety of any blood products. This made Canada one of the safest countries for blood transfusion in the world.

PATIENT FINANCING OF HEALTHCARE
(THE PATIENT PAYS)
MORE CARE IS NOT ALWAYS BETTER
  • Now there’s proof for the “Angelina Jolie Effect”
    Now there’s proof for the “Angelina Jolie Effect”
    By Alan Cassels

    Up to this point, it had only been a hypothesis: that celebrity firepower can definitively drive consumer health behavior in a certain direction. The case here concerns whether women wish to embark on a genetic hunting expedition to see if they are at “high risk” of developing a particular disease such as breast cancer, and the motivator in this case is Angelina Jolie.

  • Les médicaments aident-ils les enfants ayant un trouble d'hyperactivité avec déficit de l'attention, ou leur nuisent-ils ?
    Are medications helping or hurting children with ADHD?
    By Janet Currie and Mark Stabile

    Over the past twenty years, mental disabilities have overtaken physical disabilities as the leading cause of activity limitations in children. Today, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is three times more likely than asthma to be contributing to childhood disability in the United States.

SUSTAINABILITY WAITING FOR CARE
  • Voir clairement
    Seeing healthcare clearly
    By Noralou Roos

    I had cataract surgery last year — a terrifying prospect for a visual person. I love art and ocean views, and I was nervous about anyone working on my eyes. I delayed surgery a couple of times but finally committed. As it turned out, my surgery went fine. In fact, I loved that I could see colours vividly again. Our health system made that happen

  • Sexe, mensonge et effectif des médecins
    Sex, lies and physician supply
    By Lindsay Hedden and Morris Barer

    Among the many reasons offered for why many Canadians are increasingly facing difficulties finding a family physician to call their own is the fact that the workforce has become increasingly female. The argument usually goes something like this: female family practitioners work fewer hours, take time out to raise families and have shorter careers.

  • Why you must see your doctor after a trip to the ER
    Why you must see your doctor after a trip to the ER
    By Michael J. Schull

    Television shows have popularized the theatrical entrance into the hospital emergency room: patients racing down hallways on gurneys with worried doctors and nurses running alongside -- great drama. How most patients leave the emergency room isn’t quite as dramatic, but the facts tell a good news story.

  • Report card on wait times in Canada omits important developments
    Report card on wait times in Canada omits important developments
    By Don Dick and Linda Woodhouse

    Canadians might have been inclined to take a sedative for an anxiety attack after reading about the Wait Time Alliance’s (WTA) 2014 report card on waits for medical care in Canada. The WTA gives Canada a failing grade on the structural changes it says are needed to have the timely access to care seen in other countries.

PHARMACEUTICAL POLICY MENTAL HEALTH
OBESITY INTERNATIONAL HEALTH SYSTEMS
  • Sharma_Pay as you weigh_Apr_13_11515696
    Pay as you weigh an unfair pricing strategy
    By Arya Sharma

    This week the wires were active with suggestions that people with obesity pay more for airline travel. This discussion was prompted by a Samoan airline announcing that they would begin charging passengers by the pound.

  • Millar__obesity action Feb_2013_5106319
    It’s time for government action on obesity
    By John Millar

    You’ve heard it already: obesity is epidemic in Canada and is contributing to an increased prevalence of hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer and other chronic conditions.

  • Pourquoi le Canada devrait éviter de faire concurrence aux États-Unis pour le pire système de santé de tous les pays développés
    Why Canada shouldn’t compete with the U.S. for the worst performing health system in the developed world
    By Colleen Flood

    The latest Commonwealth Study ranked Canada’s health care system a dismal second to last in a list of eleven major industrialized countries. We had the dubious distinction of beating out only the Americans. This latest poor result is already being used by those bent on further privatizing health care.

  • Stethoscope on American Flag with Selective Focus.
    U.S., Canadian health care systems share some challenges
    By Trudy Lieberman

    Both Canada and the United States are historically and practically steeped in fee-for-service medicine, and much of the power to control prices rests in the hands of the medical establishment. While provincial governments have periodic negotiations with medical and hospital groups, and there are global budgets for hospitals that try to constrain costs, the system is relatively expensive.

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