Medicare is the third rail of Canadian politics. Touch it and you die. Every politician knows this truism, which is why no one wants to debate it. Privately, many of them understand that the health-care system, which costs about $200 billion a year in public and private money, cannot continue as it is—increasingly ill-adapted to an aging population with public costs growing faster than government revenues.
In Chronic Condition, Jeffrey Simpson explores the options we have to grapple with this growing problem, including cuts in non-health-care spending, tax increases, various types of privatization, and finding savings within health-care itself. His research takes him to emergency rooms and private clinics across Canada as he listens to health professionals, researchers, and administrators outline the challenges they face. Simpson examines the tenets of the medicare system that Canadians cling to so passionately.
Combining impressive research, political acumen, and a sense of civic urgency, Chronic Condition breaks the silence about the huge changes and real choices that Canadians face. It is a catalyst for a much-needed public debate about an essential Canadian service.
JEFFREY SIMPSON had been The Globe and Mail’s national affairs columnist for more than twenty-five years. He is also an award-winning author of numerous books—including Discipline of Power, which won a Governor General’s Literary Award, and Chronic Condition, which won the Donner Prize—and is an officer of the Order of Canada. He lives in Ottawa with his family.
WINNER OF THE DONNER PRIZE
SHORTLISTED FOR THE SHAUGHNESSY COHEN PRIZE
SHORTLISTED FOR THE J.W. DAFOE BOOK PRIZE
“This book deals with the most pressing public-policy issue facing Canadians. Chronic Condition should inspire a national debate on the future of Canadians’ most cherished social program.” —Donner Prize jury citation
“A refreshing new look at health care in Canada.” —The Vancouver Sun
“Chronic Condition is a great guide to models from around the world to be considered for reforms in Canada. Readers will find the lessons of history, global comparisons, abundant domestic datasets and the wisdom of one of Canada’s foremost commentators to guide them.” —The Globe and Mail
“What [Simpson] has written is arguably the most comprehensive tour d’horizon of the Canadian healthcare system available.” —Queen’s University Alumni Review
“It’s hard to argue with a writer like Simpson, who has such impeccable credentials.” —The Gazette (Montreal)