Already a family doctor, a hospital administrator and a university prof, Dr. Danielle Martin adds author to her list of accolades with this view on what's wrong with Canada's healthcare system and how we can fix it.
As Canadians, we are, with good reason, proud of our health-care system: A trip to the emergency room won't lead to a six-figure bill, plus our researchers are some of the best in the world. But as anyone who has had to use it for nonemergency purposes knows, it's far from perfect. Wait times are still a problem; we spend more on health care than most other developed nations do, though not for better care, and many of us don't have a family doctor.
But the solution to these problems, writes Dr. Danielle Martin, a Toronto-based physician, isn't to move to a U.S.-style tiered system; it's to fix the one we've got.
In this interesting and easy-to-digest read, she highlights six big problems in Canadian health care, offering a real person's experience as proof and a smart, if sometimes radical, solution for each.
Take Ahmed, who is of South Asian descent and has a sedentary job, both of which increase his risk for diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. But he doesn't have insurance, so he can't always afford the medications his doctor prescribes. Ahmed's story illustrates how a government-funded drug plan would improve Canadians' health—and how not having one costs more in the long run.
Dr. Martin devotes equal rigour to issues such as "too much medicine" (that is, overdiagnosis, overtesting and overprescribing) and how to deal with high-cost and high-need patients without bankrupting the entire system, which results in an informative and thoroughly readable book.
Better Now: Six Big Ideas to Improve Health Care for All Canadians (Allen Lane) by Dr. Danielle Martin, $32.