health | March 03, 2013

Don't Tie Medicare To National Identity: Health Speaker Jeffrey Simspon

English-speaking Canadians have done something that health speaker Jeffrey Simpson thinks is very strange—they've elevated healthcare to the point of it being their top-ranking national symbol. Attaching our national identity to Medicare is something that he says few, if any, other countries have done and we have transformed this policy 
initiative into national mythology. "It's existential for us," Simpson says in a new video on The Globe and Mail, "and anything that's existential is very much more difficult to talk about than a normal policy." In his book, Chronic Condition, Simpson explains why this mindset is crippling the country's healthcare—because until recently, Canadians have avoided criticizing a system that is in desperate need of criticism.

In the video, Simpson notes that despite being one of the most expensive systems in the world, Medicare performs in the middle of the pack at best by international standards. We have, by his analogy, a system that costs as much as a Cadillac but only performs as well as a Chevrolet. There's no magical solution to rectify this problem. He says that there are numerous components that need to be improved: more long-term care, more at-home care, and fewer companies purchasing pharmaceuticals, to name several. However, none of that can be rectified if we don't bring healthcare down off of the pedestal. We don't have the best system in the world, Simpson argues, and we won't so long as we continue to delude ourselves into thinking we do.

Simpson is the National Affairs Columnist for The Globe and Mail and an in-demand speaker on national and domestic issues. With decades of experience, his keynotes offer insightful research that point out the problems the nation faces—and then provide solutions for correcting those issues.

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