Tomorrow: Is Canada’s healthcare system a model for the US?

A reminder of some up-coming events from a fellow Canadian organization in the Bay Area.


Canadian Studies Announcements
In this issue:
  • Event tomorrow: Is Canada’s healthcare system a model for the US?
  • Hildebrand Fellow Jonathan Holmes explains insurance risk pools
  • Funding opportunities open for grad & undergrad research
  • Upcoming event: “Canada’s Role in a Psychedelic Renaissance”
  • External event: Book talk on Canada’s lost citizens
  • External event: Western Washington U celebrates 50 years of Canadian Studies
Event Tomorrow
Panel Discussion: The Canadian Healthcare System: A Model for the US?
April 6 | 12:30 p.m. | RSVP here
Most Canadians are proud of their national healthcare system, widely considered one of the best in the world. But when it comes to US healthcare reform, the Canadian example is much more divisive. A growing number of Americans view Canada as a model for a potential US single-payer system. However, for many others a “Canadian” system conjures images of long waits and rationing. Join Canadian Studies for a special panel exploring how Canada’s healthcare system really works, and why its perception in the US is so polarized.
Gregory Marchildon is a professor of comparative healthcare at the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation at the University of Toronto. He specializes in Canada’s healthcare system and has written extensively on comparative policy.
Amanda Aronczyk is a journalist and co-host of the NPR show Planet Money. Her 2020 episode “Frame Canada” investigated the US insurance lobby’s long-running PR campaign to block major healthcare reform by discrediting Canada’s healthcare system.
Daniel Béland is the director of the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada and James McGill Professor in the Department of Political Science at McGill University. He studies social policy and health care reform, and their relationship to fiscal policy.
Hildebrand Fellow Jonathan Holmes: Why You Should Care About Health Insurance Risk Pools
Jonathan Holmes is a Ph.D. candidate in economics at UC Berkeley, and he will graduate this spring. Jonathan will be joining the faculty at the University of Ottawa in 2022 after a one-year post-doc at the National Bureau of Economic Research. The recipient of a 2016 Hildebrand Research Fellowship, his current work focuses on public economics and health economics
I study how risk is pooled in health insurance markets. To understand risk pools, consider Berkeley’s student health plan. While undergraduate and graduate plans have identical benefits, a graduate plan is 60% more expensive than an undergraduate plan. Why? Because the graduate student risk pool is higher cost relative to the undergraduate risk pool.
For private health plans in the U.S. and Canada (private plans in Canada are called “supplemental” plans, and cover many services not covered by the public health plan, like prescription drugs), each employer is considered its own risk pool, and there is also a separate market for individuals.
Pooling risk in this way leads to large differences in the price of coverage. In the U.S., it is common for self-employed workers to pay 50% more than firms for identical coverage, because the individual market has a costlier risk pool. In a similar way, firms that employ mostly women pay higher premiums relative to male-dominated firms. Pooling risk in this way is arbitrary, and it encourages firms to avoid hiring individuals with chronic health conditions, to keep premiums low.
Fortunately, there exist policy solutions to eliminate these distinctions. Policymakers wishing to maintain private markets can legislate a common risk pool, like is currently done for the insurance exchanges created by the Affordable Care Act. Proposals for universal public healthcare, like Medicare for All (in the U.S.) or Canada’s national pharmacare program, would also eliminate or reduce the importance of risk pools.
Research Funding Opportunities with Canadian Studies
Deadline: May 7, 2021
The Canadian Studies Program is currently accepting applications for funding opportunities for both graduate and undergraduate students at UC Berkeley. Applications for AY 2021-22 will close next month, on May 7, 2021. Learn more and apply by clicking the links below.
The Edward E. Hildebrand Graduate Research Fellowship provides travel and research support for Berkeley graduate students whose work focuses primarily, or comparatively, on Canada. Fellowships typically range in the $5,000 – $10,000 range.
The Rita Ross Undergraduate Prize in Canadian Studies provides a cash prize of $250 to the Berkeley undergraduate who has produced the best research project engaging with a Canadian topic for a class or independent study program.
Please circulate this information to your students, peers, and networks!
Upcoming Event
Psychedelics, Eh? Canada’s Role in a Psychedelic Renaissance
April 27 | 12:30 p.m. | RSVP here
In the 1950’s, the Canadian province of Saskatchewan was on the cutting edge of research into hallucinogenic drugs. Under the province’s massive healthcare reforms, researchers received grants to pursue LSD treatments they thought could revolutionize psychiatry. What do these experiments say about Canada’s healthcare system and society at the time? And what can we learn from the program’s successes and failures at a time when psychedelics are attracting renewed scientific and public interest?
Erika Dyck is the Canada Research Chair in the History of Health & Social Justice at the University of Saskatchewan. She specializes in the history of psychiatry, and has written several books on the history of psychedelic research and eugenics in Canada.
Affiliate/External Events
Book Talk: The Lost Canadians with Don Chapman
April 9 | 4:00 p.m. | RSVP here
What does it mean to be Canadian? The history of Canadian citizenship is complicated, and many have had their citizenship revoked or denied to many as a result of archaic and obscure legislation. As many as half a million of these “Lost Canadians” reside in the U.S., probably unaware that they are now Canadian citizens.
Don Chapman, a University of Washington alumnus and former United Airlines pilot, discovered his own revoked citizenship status; thus began his fight to restore citizenship rights to himself and others. Chapman has been the inspiration and force behind seven Parliamentary bills to amend the Citizenship Act, with the result that Canadian status has been granted to somewhere between one and two million people, retroactively.
Join the University of Washington’s Canadian Studies Center for an engaging discussion with Chapman centered around his 2015 book, The Lost Canadians: A Struggle for Citizenship Rights, Equality, and Identity. He will talk about citizenship as a basic human right, what it means to be rendered stateless, present-day discrimination, and his own experiences as a private individual changing federal legislation in Canada.
Book Talk: Bridging the Longest Border with Dr. Donald Alper
April 29 | 7:00 p.m. | RSVP here
As part of its 50th anniversary celebration, Western Washington University’s Center for Canadian-American Studies is sponsoring a talk by Dr. Don Alper on his new book, “Bridging the Longest Border”. The book is a story of how a handful of visionaries built a program at Western Washington University to educate students and community leaders about Canada. While not a history lesson, this book traces the journey of creating a place for developing knowledge about this important country just a stone’s throw away.
Dr. Alper is an emeritus professor of political science at Western Washington University, and the former director of Western’s Center for Canadian–American Studies and the Border Policy Research Institute. Known nationally for his advancement of Canadian Studies in the United States, he has taught courses on Canadian politics and Canada-U.S. relations for more than 40 years. Don Alper will be joined in conversation with Cat Wallace, journalism instructor at Whatcom Community College and editor.
Canadian Studies Program
213 Moses Hall #2308
Canadian Studies Program | Univ. of California, Berkeley, 213 Moses Hall #2308, Berkeley, CA 94720

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