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Health Reform

Canada is in desperate need of health reform.

Even before the pandemic arrived, our system was in a crisis state.

Below you will hear the story of a nurse who had to travel to Mexico to get the care she needed, a retired nurse who has lost two daughters due to long waiting lists and a retired senior who faced a painful 1-2 year wait for hip surgery. Far too many patients have stories like these.

This page includes:
– Interviews with patients telling their stories
– Health professionals discussing health reform
– Research and solutions identified by SecondStreet.org and other think tanks 

Patient Stories:

Ken Clifford discusses how a private clinic in Vancouver saved his shoulder from permanent damage (BC)

Kim Purdy discusses her painful 14-month wait for surgery in Alberta’s health care system (AB) 

Chris Vander Doelen talks about his visit to an LA hospital that saved his life from prostate cancer (ON)

Jenny Mckenzie describes her long and painful wait for hip surgery (BC)

Max Johnson talks about his surgery in Lithuania and why he forwarded the bill to the Manitoba government! (MB)

Joan Hama describes how she almost died after being forced to wait too long for health care (BC)

Danny Hozack describes his positive experience with private care in Canada (AB)

Sharon Kilkenny talks about the 93 week waiting list she faces for hip surgery (SK)

Judy Anderson describes losing two daughters due to long waiting lists (ON)

Jackie Herrera describes living in pain for years before finding relief in Germany (AB)

Bruce MacDonald describes his experience waiting for surgery in British Columbia’s health care system (BC)

Tracy Skinner describes going to Tijuana, Mexico for surgery to address her back pain (AB)

Jessica Bailey talks about the effects of the government cancelling her organ transplant surgery (SK)

Wendy Petersen discusses her long wait for knee surgery in Canada (MB)

John Massing faced a 2-year wait for back surgery – so he went to Germany instead (AB)

Nurse Christina Sanford describes having to travel to Mexico for treatment (NS)

Other Interviews / Content:

Rick Baker discusses helping Canadians travel abroad for health care (BC)

We chat with Dr. Susan Piccinin about waiting lists, private health & an aging population

Ontario physician Dr. Shawn Whatley discusses his new book, “When politics comes before patients” (post-COVID)

Retired nurse Janet Walker discusses her research into waiting list suffering (BC)

Ontario physician Dr. Shawn Whatley discusses Canada’s growing waiting list problem (pre-COVID)

Is Jim Carey right about health care in Canada? We took a closer look

Research and Policy Solutions:

Since launching in 2019, SecondStreet.org has released several policy briefs:

  • Died on a Waiting List: These policy briefs examine government data on patients dying while waiting for care. SecondStreet.org has released three of these reports – December 2020, June 2021 and December 2021.
  • November 2021 Poll: This  policy brief examines public opinion research into three health reform options.
  • Postponed Surgeries: This policy brief from March 2021 examines government data on postponed surgeries and diagnostic scans during the first year of the pandemic.
  • Hospital Cafeteria Losses: This policy brief examines financial losses at government-run, commercial cafeterias in hospitals (including government-run, money-losing Tim Hortons franchises).
  • COVID-19 Reinforces the Need for Health Reform: Prior to the pandemic, Canada’s health system was struggling. This policy brief compares Canada’s system with other nations and provides information on some better-performing health models.
  • March 2020 Poll: This policy brief examines public opinion research on several aspects of health care in Canada.
  • Private MRI Options: In late 2020, SecondStreet.org put out a policy brief that examines the growth in private MRI options in Canada.
  • The Flight of the Sick: SecondStreet.org’s first policy brief examines just how many Canadians leave the country each year specifically for health care.

Several organizations in Canada have released important health care research and analysis. A few reports/links you might find of interest include:

  • Chapter on Health Reform: Krystle Wittevrongel from the Montreal Economic Institute wrote an excellent chapter on health reform for a free eBook that we created with MEI and three other public policy groups. To view it – click here.
  • Waiting Your Turn: For nearly 30 years, the Fraser Institute has been conducting important research on waiting lists in Canada. To view their 2021 report – click here.  
  • Activity Based Funding: One policy option that Canada could embrace is called Activity Based Funding. In short, this model incentivizes output by funding hospitals based on output – rather than annual cheques. To see the Fraser Institute’s report on this – click here.
  • Historic Look at Health Reform: The Macdonald-Laurier Institute has some interesting essays on health reform over the past 20 years, specifically, an examination of the Mazankowski report from 20 years ago. 
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