Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Winnipeg Sun Editorial: Moment of truth

Winnipeg Sun Editorial: Moment of truth: "Moment of truth
Prime Minister Paul Martin and Finance Minister Ralph Goodale should be tip-toeing through this week's federal budget minefield. After all, today's budget will be the first introduced by a minority government since 1979, when opposition parties brought down Prime Minister Joe Clark's government after his finance minister, John Crosbie, pushed for an 18-cent-a-gallon tax on gasoline.
Now Martin and Goodale face their own moment of truth.
We know from their track record that Liberals high-handedly dispute the assertion we Canadians are notoriously overtaxed. But the backbreaking burden we shoulder from taxes is not a conservative fantasy. Toronto-Dominion Bank's chief economist, Don Drummond, released a report last month showing living standards of the average Canadian have hardly risen in 15 years.
Drummond's study showed that between 1989 and 2004 the average after-tax, take-home pay of Canadians rose by only 3.6% while in the U.S., the increase was about 20%.
Conservative Finance Critic Monte Solberg, in appealing to Goodale to lower taxes for Canadians in today's budget, noted in the same 15-year period, Canadian productivity increased by almost 22%.
We are working harder, our industries are more efficient, but none of us are getting the rewards we deserve. This is unfair and wrong.
Both Martin and Goodale have repeatedly said lower taxes are not on the agenda, yet the Tories insist the government lighten our tax load.
There should be a budget showdown if it doesn't include a tax cut. "

Should Canada Permit More Private Health Care?

An economic review of countries that allow private hospitals and insurance systems

Guest Speaker: Dr. Philippe Cyrenne, Professor of Economics, University of Winnipeg

The Canadian healthcare system differs in one important respect from other major democracies that offer universal access and public financing. Delivery and financial systems in those countries integrate private-sector involvement on a much larger scale. Dr. Cyrenne’s recent book considers whether hospital services in Canada should be privatized to the same degree as physician services and assesses the success of countries that have moved further along that path. He also considers how the use of parallel private insurance coverage affects waiting times and service quality in public systems.

Is this a way to reduce waiting lines and improve service? We will keep you posted.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

CANOE -- CNEWS - Weird News: Caretakers sue boss for forcing them to bare breasts for Koko the gorilla

Talk about dignity-wow- and it was a female ape -chuckle
CANOE -- CNEWS - Weird News: Caretakers sue boss for forcing them to bare breasts for Koko the gorilla

Health Secrets of taking charge

Useful information in taking charge of your health Need more information e-mail us at mailto: -QJ

Bottom Line/Health Secrets: "Healthcare for Less
How to Cut Costs of Heart Disease, Cancer, Diabetes and Other Chronic Conditions

David Nganele, PhD
Solutions to Healthcare

Chronic disease can be financially devastating even for someone who has health insurance. Benefit limits often are reached before the condition is under control.
People without insurance may be forced to borrow money or sell assets when faced with such conditions as recurring cancers, heart disease, depression and diabetes.
Making lifestyle changes -- quitting smoking, improving your diet and exercising --can reduce the need for medication for many conditions. In addition, sufferers can eliminate some costs entirely by understanding how hospitals, drug companies and doctors do business. Most effective cost-saving strategies...
At-Home Care
Become an expert. Learning all you can about your illness may help you discover lower-cost treatments and aspects of the condition that even your doctor may not know about. You'll also benefit psychologically from putting yourself in charge instead of relying solely on your doctor.

Contact associations specializing in your condition. They can help you to locate low-cost treatment centers and suggest ways to prevent your condition from worsening. Example: Adding supplemental chromium, magnesium and vanadium to your diet may help with diabetes.

Investigate alternative treatments, such as acupuncture and biofeedback. Many now are covered by insurance. Even if they're not, they may cost less and be more effective than conventional treatments. For information, contact the federal government's National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine at 888-644-6226,

Buy drugs in large quantities to save on copayments. Most insurers charge a copayment for each prescription, regardless of the drug's cost. Copayments today can be as high as $50.

Ask your doctor to write 90-day prescriptions, instead of 30-day. You will reduce your copayment by two-thirds.

Ask your doctors for free samples.
Take part in a clinical trial.
Hospital-Based care

When you are hospitalized, put your primary-care physician in charge. Doctors who are unfamiliar with your health history might recommend costly, unnecessary procedures.

Primary physicians, as a rule, recommend fewer procedures than other doctors at a hospital. Your primary doctor already is familiar with your condition and may have tried a variety of treatments for you in the past.

You even might ask your primary physician to help check your hospital bill for inaccuracies. As a patient with a chronic illness, you need to be vigilant about not reaching insurance policy limits sooner than necessary.

Consider treatment at a teaching or government-run hospital or clinic. These institutions usually charge patients according to their ability to pay. They can make sense for people with limited incomes, especially those who lack insurance or have passed their insurance limit. Information: Health Resources and Services Administration, 800-400-2742.

Negotiate with the hospital and other providers. Pay what you can now, and work out a payment plan for the rest. Or ask for a fee reduction. A hospital or doctor nearly always will compromise because reducing the bill may be cheaper than paying a collection agency or not collecting at all.

Get the opinion of more than one doctor before any procedure. Second opinions increase your chance of finding less expensive --and perhaps more effective --treatment.