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 meets health care head on and explores the only four options we have to end this growing crisis: cuts in spending, tax increases, privatization, and reaping savings through increased efficiency. He examines the tenets of the Medicare system that Canadians cling to so passionately. Here, he finds that many other countries have more extensive public health systems, and Canadian health care produces only average value for money. In fact, our rigid system for some health care needs and a costly system for other needs—drugs, dentistry, and home care—is really the worst of both worlds. Chronic Condition breaks the silence about the huge changes and real choices that Canadians face.