Publications, opinions, and speeches
65 Shades of Grey
Published on 05/06/2012
The newly-released 2011 Census reaffirmed what we already know: Canada’s population is aging rapidly. Population aging has fuelled fears of skyrocketing health care costs. But a look behind the numbers tells a different story. It is not aging per se that is driving cost increases. Rather, higher expenditures are linked primarily to the rising incidence of multiple chronic illnesses. This growing pressure on the health care system – coupled with governments’ desire to slow the relentless increases in health spending – have led to endless roundtables, conferences and papers on health care reform. The discussions typically conclude with the need to find ‘efficiencies’ and innovation in the current system. But often missing from the conversations are the factors that can have the biggest impact on health care spending because they have the largest impact on health. The most profound levers for change include reduced poverty, active living and home care. Paying attention to these factors will lead to more significant health care reform than any of the discussions that keep focusing solely on the existing system. Unfortunately, there is currently no table for this broader conversation.