The next discussion we need to have: Caring for seniors

Susan Eng – CARP: The problem is that such insurance is very, very expensive. Can people afford the private insurance – average families in the US who buy their own insurance have $10,000 deductibles

Comment From Rees Moerman: The Romanow report (2002) stated home care was the critical third leg of care in Canada and was vastly under supported and the default option for most chronic care. Our hospitals are 15% in permanent over capacity by frail stable patients that do not need to be there but due to lack of home care support stay in hospitals at $1200.00 per day versus the $50.00 per day homecare rate. Nursing home the second option cost $250 per day with 80% supported by taxpayers. Its time to get real abotu low cost functional care options that are telemedicine based. Why with 50% of entire Provincial budgets that strangle the taxpayer burden with 25% of every dollar going to acute care hospitals that are not designed nor service seniors best. Why do we not by now have a critical tasked”Manhattan” plan in Canada for senior care with the boomer-doomer wave fast approaching.

Susan Eng – CARP: Good question. Be sure to ask it during the next election. And make your vote is conditional on their answer

André Picard: Very eloquently stated Mr. Moerman. We spend $191-billion on healthcare in Canada. We have the money to care for everyone properly. But we need to make better choices about how money is spent, and make elder care a priority.

Comment From Terry: I take Susan’s point that Canadians need to make senior care a political priority, but it seems like even though health is constantly at the top of Canadians’ political priority list, that doesn’t translate into effective policy reforms. What’s the impasse?

Susan Eng – CARP: We need to confront the politicians with the best practices of other jurisdictions and ask why not here? There are ways to bring down healthcare budgets. Try bulk purchasing of the drugs on the public formulary – but then the politicians have to go toe to toe with the pharma companies. New Zealand takes up the responsibility of taking up the patents as soon as they run out and issues a RFP for companies to manufacture the generic drug. Political will.

André Picard: I think the impasse is that the political life cycle – you spend two years in office then start preparing for re-election – favours addressing short-term problems, not long-term ones. Countries that do a better job of planning – like France – have a more powerful and independent public service. Canada has an emasculated public service and that results in a lack of creative public policy.

Comment From Rees Moerman: Why do we not have our PHd. Nurses, policy wonks, change agent Doctors studying best proven successful low cost geriatric practices in France, Cuba, Denmark, Hollland and Swizterland where they have worked out a non-institutional non industrial medical service model.

André Picard: We don’t need more study. We know what needs to be done. We need leadership and action.