|John Haggie, President of the Canadian Medical Association, and Rachel Bard, CEO of the Canadian Nurses Association, talk to reporters during a winter meeting of the provincial premiers on health care in Victoria, British Columbia January 17, 2012. (Andy Clark/REUTERS) |
OTTAWA - Physical exercise and quitting smoking can improve health, but the latest report from the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) shows getting a better-paying job can help a lot too.
"The more money that you earn in a family, the less likely you are to be ill, the less likely you are to use health-care services," CMA president Dr. John Haggie said.
The CMA's 12th annual national report card on health care shows just 38% of those in households with incomes below $30,000 a year reported good or excellent health, compared to 68% of those with annual incomes in excess of $60,000.
Haggie suggests that's partly because almost a quarter of low-income earners said they delayed or stopped taking a prescription drug - often for chronic diseases like diabetes - to save money.
"You don't have the money to fork out for several hundred dollars worth of pills each month and still pay the heating bills, the lighting bills and eat," he said.
Just 3% of high-income earners say they skipped prescription drugs, which can often lead to other problems requiring extra medical care.
Meantime, Canadians tell the CMA they have mixed feelings about how federal and provincial governments handle the health system.
Around 39% of respondents across the country gave provincial governments an A or B grade on health-care policy - just barely better than the 38% who gave those marks to the feds.
Provincial governments scored better than the feds everywhere except Ontario.
"I think that may be a specific issue related to Ontario and some of the current difficulties there," Haggie said.
Ontario's government has been hit with repeated scandals in a botched attempt to create electronic health records and in massive misspending in Ornge, its air ambulance system.
Ipsos-Reid consulted an online panel of 1,004 adult Canadians between July 23 and 30 to come up with the government grades on health care.
With traditional polling methods, that would yield a margin of error of +/- 3.2%.
The company used telephone polling of 1,200 people at the same time for the rest of its report, yielding results accurate to within 2.8%.
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