Sunday, March 28, 2010

NDP Should Play a Leading Role in Debating Healthcare Reform

When the Liberal Party of Canada recently held a "thinkfest", I wasn't exactly blown away by the experts. Dont get me wrong; philosopher Daniel Weinstock, former Bank of Canada governor David Dodge, former University of British Columbia president Martha Piper and former foreign affairs minister Lloyd Axworthy are all very bright people and important leading citizens of our country. It's just that the big topic of conversation turned out to be the cost of health care, and none of these people is really an expert on health care.

The NDP spends so much of its time and energy fighting defensive rearguard battles that it could do itself a lot of good--and a bit of good for its image--if it held its own thinkfest directly confronting the question of what to do about a health care system in which costs will be rising twice as fast as the rest of the economy for the next couple of decades. It could assemble a more expert and more diverse group of speakers than the Liberals just did: How about Roy Romanow debating Janice MacKinnon on the sustainability of single payer health care? Dr. Bob Evans of UBC and health futurist Jeffrey Bauer on the potential of 'reform from within' public health care? Yale political Scientist Theodore Marmor on comparative perspectives and Dr. Marcia Angell of Harvard on healthcare reform from the perspective of the medical profession in the United States?

David Dodge? Lloyd Axworthy? Give me a break!!

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