'Cost cutting' blinds politicians to health care challenges: CMA - Macleans.ca

‘Cost cutting’ blinds politicians to health care challenges: CMA

The outgoing president of the Canadian Medical Association warned Tuesday that government has to battle social ills before health care can become sustainable.


CALGARY – The outgoing president of the Canadian Medical Association warned Tuesday that government has to battle social ills before health care can become sustainable.

“Canada’s premiers are fond of saying they want and need to bend the cost curve on health-care spending,” Dr. Anna Reid, in her final speech as president, told delegates at the association’s annual meeting.

Reid said she doesn’t believe politicians totally understand the challenges in health care and suggested their views “are purely about cost cutting.”

“An estimated one in every five dollars spent on health is directly attributable to the social determinants of health,” she said. “A lot of the people who actually use the health-care system are marginalized populations who live in poverty.

“We know from a study done in Hamilton … that those who live in low income neighbourhoods actually have to use emergency services and mental-health services much more than other people in the city.

“We will be unable to sustain our health-care system if we do not address these determinants.”

Reid said it is critical that doctors continue to be heard. The medical association is involved in the Health Care Innovation Working Group, set up by Canada’s premiers along with the Canadian Nurses Association and the Health Action Lobby.

“What is absolutely clear is that Canadians want and expect us, the doctors of Canada, to be advocates for their broader health as well as the health-care system.”

Work being done by many physicians creates a “force for good” in society and needs to focus on quality of care, she said.

“I believe that if there is the will among the public, providers and politicians … that with everyone pulling in the same direction we will be able to achieve the health outcomes that Canadians deserve.”

She said an important first step is to convince the federal government to develop a national strategy for seniors care.

A poll released by the association this week indicated most people want a plan which includes an emphasis on keeping seniors in their homes as long as possible.

The poll, done annually as part of the association’s national report card on health issues, said that 93 per cent of those surveyed indicated any such plan should address care at homes, hospitals, hospices and long-term facilities.

An equal number suggested the entire system could be improved by keeping seniors at home as long as possible, thereby lightening the load on hospitals and nursing homes.

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‘Cost cutting’ blinds politicians to health care challenges: CMA

  1. Senior security is a top priority. For the first time in history seniors will outnumber our youth. With record youth unemoyment and record child poverty it seems unlikely the next generation will be able to support the massive numbers if boomers who can’t afford to retire. The next generation will be dealing with climate change, decayed infrastructure, peak oil, record public and private debt, and probably renters for the most part as they won’t have wealthy boomer parents but record numbers from single parent families currently leading the charge into poverty.

  2. Might be nice if doctors concentrated on cures rather than funding.

    • Agree. Its doubtful drs can cure the funding ills.
      I find hiding the cause of child poverty, government hiding the cause of record child poverty, government clawing back record child support from our most vunerable children, very political and damaging to all doctors reputation. It makes it look like doctors care more about funding than record child poverty and don’t care where it comes from, like lawyers. Well if they want to play politics supporting a dead beat source of revenue is political.

      • It’s the govts job to worry about funding, it’s the doctor’s job to worry about cures.

        • Perhaps the drs are worrying about a cure for a government that has created a child poverty record by clawing back hundreds of mlions in child support from our most vulnerable children. That’s so sick it might be terminal.
          If any drs have the time to read the comments the only cure for a deadbeat government is a provincially nominated federal government.


          It was a success in Afghanistan, used until the Canadian inspired federal elections. Now apparently there are more palaces around Kabul than Paris.

  3. The minister in charge addressed the CMA in putting more effort in DV. I’m disappointed the CMA only responded with a blank check on social ills.
    The child poverty record is easy to solve, quit clawing back the child support.
    Reducing DV is no more complicated. The majority of male abusers are from single parent families created by sole custosy, often abused themselves. To lessen DV you get rid of the highest incident cause sole custody.
    Its long been a fact presumed joint physical custody avoids many of the societal ills doctors want government to cure.