Let's make health care an election issue

Health care is top of mind among Canadians. So why isn't health care the big election issue it deserves to be?
Chain pharmacies contacted by Marketplace say they put patient care above business. “Our pharmacists use their professional judgment when a patient-focused service should be provided,” one statement read. (Mark Blinch/Reuters)

Today, Maclean's magazine released its Federal Issues 2015 spread - a collection of issues that the federal parties are talking about now or expected to talk about during the election. 

Terrorism made the list.  So did defence spending.  Jobs, crime, climate.  No problem.  

Heath care?  Nada.  The closest Maclean's came to even mentioning health care was a panel on marijuana - and that one had more to do with decriminalizing weed than medical marijuana.

I'm not blaming Maclean's!  I think the venerable magazine has accurately reflected the current zeitgeist surrounding our "most cherished" social program.  

Here's what I think.  Our health care system is old, mouldy, slow to react to changing forces and way, way, way behind the times.  

What's more, I think Canadians are way too proud of a system that excels in mushy mediocrity. I think we'd rather chatter about Mike Duffy and Nigel Wright than work on making health care leaner, more flexible and more adaptable to changing economic, social and political forces.  

I say it's time we get your feedback on how you think health care needs to adapt.  And we need to demand that the federal parties take health care seriously.

Later this season on White Coat Black Art, we'll have an election special in which we will highlight what we think are the key health issues that politicians need to engage in.  

What's on your list?  Pharmacare?  National strategy on aging and dementia?  Physician-assisted death?  How about inter-provincial disparities in health care services?  Or, electronic health records?  

We'll put your suggestions to representatives of the major parties, and we'll hold them to account.

Post your comment below and have your say.

Dr. Brian Goldman is host of White Coat, Black Art, which returns September 12 with a brand new season - at two new timeslots:  Saturdays at 1:05 pm (1:35 pm Island Time), and Sundays at 6:30 pm (7:30 pm in Atlantic Canada and 8:00 pm Island Time) on CBC Radio One.


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