The Canadian Health Care System

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Over the past decade there has been a major debate over healthcare reform across the globe, including Canada. The Canadian health care system is called Medicare and can be described as a single-payer system. In essence, the majority of Canadians receive health care through a publicly funded system that consists of federal transfers to the ten provincial governments who then decided how the money is to be allocated in conjunction with the federal health care standards. These standards were set by the Canada Health Act of 1985 (henceforth “the Act”), which states that each province must adhere to the Act’s five main principles in order to receive funding; these principles include: universal coverage for all medically necessary care,…show more content…
Proponents of Medicare state that with a single-payer system equity is more attainable than in a system that depends on a person’s ability to pay as in the US. However, a study done by O’Neill and O’Neill found that Canada actually has a higher “health income gradient” than in the US (2007). Many believe that this inequity is due to the ambiguity surrounding the Act’s term “medically necessary” that has never been clearly defined. Thus, each province controls what is deemed “medically necessary” causing ten different benefits packages and increased inequity. Other liabilities include: a lack of funding for hospitals, insufficient healthcare resources (such as surgeons, MRI and CT scanners), a short supply of family doctors, and a halt in technological innovation. When compared to the US, Canada spends around half as much on investment in medical facilities and around a third as much on technology investments (“US Health Care VS. France, UK, Canada”). Also, in most provinces acquiring a family doctor occurs through a lottery system (ABC report). These disadvantages are the basis for the various recommendations for policy reform. The search for the best universal healthcare system has expanded all over the globe and Canada is no exception. As with anything involving public policy, there have been a number of options put forward as the best policy option to fix the shortcomings of the current system. Some argue that Canada should add supplementary

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