EVALUATING NORTH AMERICAN HEALTH SYSTEMS Essay

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INTRODUCTION
     Compensating the affairs of economic efficiency with the demands of sociopolitical rights is a constant source of tension in Canada and the United States alike. In no other element is this tension more apparent than in the group of complex markets we call the health care system.
     Canadians have been fortunate enough to receive a universal health care system for nearly forty years. This is a single-payer system funded by the governments, both provincial and federal, but at what costs? Is health care not unlike any other commodity, or is it the privilege of every citizen? Health care has elements of common economic behavior, however, there are also certain social
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As early as 1919, Canada’s Liberal party promised national health insurance, but the first real step was taken in Saskatchewan, where in 1947 province wide hospital insurance was introduced. A national hospital-insurance act followed in 1958, and by 1960, 99% of Canadians were covered by government run hospital insurance. Saskatchewan was again the first in 1961 to introduce medical-care insurance which covered doctors’ services as well. However, this was not an easy transformation. In 1962 when the medical insurance act was implemented, the doctors of Saskatchewan went on strike. As a part of the settlement the government agreed to a modified plan that addressed some of the doctors’ grievances. Despite the opposition from provinces, doctors and insurance companies, national Medicare legislation was in place by 1967, and today health care is a constitutional right.
     The arrangement reached by all provinces by 1972 was that the federal government paid half the cost of the provincial plans, provided the plans met five principles: accessibility, universality of coverage, portability from province to province, comprehensiveness of service, and government administration. Under the system the health care provider bills the provincial plan directly. The Canadian Health Act, effective in 1984,
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