Preparing for the Shortfalls of Canadian Healthcare
Recently, Canadian news sources have examined the potential consequences of a stagnant health care system, combined with an economy in decline and an aging population.
Dr. Cindy Forbes, president of the Canadian Medical Association, expressed concern. She quoted an alarming statistic: "Canadians over 65 may represent 14 per cent of the population today, yet they account for almost half of our health costs. By 2036, seniors will have grown to 25 per cent of the population, accounting for 62 per cent of health costs unless governments start thinking differently." Forbes also emphasized that after the next election, the incumbent government should meet with provinces and territories to develop a national health strategy for the senior population.
The problem is not just a future problem; it is here now. Just last year, Canada's health care system was ranked 10th out of 11 by the Commonwealth Fund, an organization that compares the US health care system to other nations' systems. The study stated that Canada is the slowest in providing timely care (including the longest emergency room wait times) and the second-least efficient overall:
We have the longest wait times in emergency rooms. One in two Canadians in 2014 couldn’t see a doctor the same day they felt they needed medical treatment; two-thirds say they don’t even bother trying on weekends or in the evening. Based on our rankings, we are also among the least advanced of the 11 nations when it comes to the electronic transfer of records between family doctors, specialists and medical clinics.
Even in 2002, the journal Health Services Research laid out steps that needed to be taken to ensure proper care for baby boomers by 2030:
The real challenges of caring for the elderly in 2030 will involve: (1) making sure society develops payment and insurance systems for long-term care that work better than existing ones, (2) taking advantage of advances in medicine and behavioral health to keep the elderly as healthy and active as possible, (3) changing the way society organizes community services so that care is more accessible, and (4) altering the cultural view of aging to make sure all ages are integrated into the fabric of community life.
While these suggestions could make a difference, they have not been fully heeded. Time continues to pass, and it is becoming more obvious that the current health care system cannot be relied upon.
Why not take products that promote healthy aging and avoid the system instead?