Better Medicine: Reforming Canada’s Health Care, published in April 2002, is a brilliant collaboration of essays by some of Canada’s leading authorities in health care policy. Introduced and edited by Dr. David Gratzer, author of the award winning book “Code Blue”, and co-sponsored by AIMS, Atlantic Canada’s public policy think tank, Better Medicine features academics, journalists, policy analysts, and physicians as they examine and analyse the past, present, and future outlook of Canada’s flawed health care system.

To order a copy of Better Medicine: Reforming Canada’s Health Care, click here.

In addition to AIMS’ role in sponsoring this prestigious new collection of work by some of Canada’s leading experts in the field of health care policy, Part 2 of Better Medicine, entitled “Surveying the Situation”, includes an edited version of AIMS’ influential paper “Public Health, State Secret”. In this timely essay, AIMS President Brian Lee Crowley and AIMS Fellow in Health Care Policy Dr. David Zitner argue that politicians and senior health officials simply don’t know where or why medicare is failing because they still lack the proper tools to evaluate the quality or timeliness of the care Canadians receive. More to the point, they demonstrate why, under the current system, it is not in the government’s interests to know what is really happening in health care.

All Canadians concerned about the state of health care should read this informative and intelligent collection.


The following is a four-part series on fixing Canada’s health care system featured in the National Post in early May 2002. The series contains three excerpts from Better Medicine, and finishes with an editorial piece by Dr. David Gratzer.

Part 1 – Canada and the health century
The first article of the series features Michael Bliss, author and Professor of History/History of Medicine at the University of Toronto, discussing the history of health care in Canada. Professor Bliss guides readers through the timeline of health care in our country in what has been called the “health century”. From the early rise of Canadian health coverage, to the introduction of universal state medical insurance with the Pearson government in the 1960’s, the 1983 Trudeau government’s Canada Health Act, to today’s failing monopolistic system.

To travel through the history of health care in our country click here.

Part 2 – Capping ingenuity limits health care
The second article features Neil Seeman, a lawyer, writer, and senior policy analyst at The Fraser Institute in Toronto, examining how medicare is an obstacle to the provision of quality health care in Canada. Seeman argues that the political entrepreneur will always choose to seemingly improve those services which appeal to the largest number of voters. In doing so, not only will cheaper, often more efficient methods of treatment be overlooked in order to maintain a comfortable status quo for the electorate, but also those conditions affecting smaller numbers of the voting population, and the non-voting population (e.g. children) will be overlooked.

Click here, to read how medicare is preventing good health care in Canada.

Part 3 – Health care is a good like any other
The third article features William Watson, who edits IRPP’s Policy Options, teaches economics at McGill University and writes Wednesdays on the Financial Post editorial page, applying traditional microeconomic analysis to health care in Canada. In his essay, Professor Watson utilizes basic supply and demand laws to create a fictional “bed-i-care” system which would see the Canadian hotel industry functioning much like our current medicare system. Through this entertaining comparative analysis, Watson categorizes medicare as a good similar to any other goods and services with the same inherent traits, experiencing the same problems – including long waiting lists and lack of supply.

To read Professor Watson’s enlightening essay, click here.

Part 4 – We need choice and competition
The final article of this series features Dr. David Gratzer, author of the highly acclaimed Code Blue: Reviving Canada’s Health Care System, and editor of Better Medicine: Reforming Canadian Health Care, reflecting on medicare and its orthodoxies, which deny Canadians the quality health care they deserve. Dr. Gratzer discusses the current phase of health care reform this country seems to be stuck in, symbolized by the Kirby-Romanow Commission debate…or rather non-debate. While Americanizing our system would be a blow to well-intentioned nationalism, Dr. Gratzer warns of being too patriotic and not making the amendments to our problematic medicare system that are needed.