Universal Health Care In Canada Essay

1107 words - 5 pages

Universal Health Care in Canada
The health care system in Canada today is a combination of sources which depends on the services and the person being treated. 97% of Canadians are covered by Medicare which covers hospital and physician services. Medicare is funded at a governmental and provincial level. People of First Nation and Inuit descent are covered by the federal government. Members of the armed forces, veterans, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police are also covered by the federal government. Several services such as dental care, residential care, and pharmaceutical are not covered. The 13 provinces have different approaches to health care; therefore, it is often said that Canada has 13 healthcare systems (Johnson & Stoskopf, 2010). The access to advanced medical technology and treatment, the cost of healthcare, and the overall health of Canadians fares well in comparison with other countries such as the United States.
Policies that have shaped Canadian Health Care
Many policies have shaped Canadian healthcare. In 1962, Saskatchewan enacted the Medical Care Insurance Act (MCIA). The MCIA provided coverage in the province for services provided by physicians. Physicians were allowed to bill the patient for any amount over what the government would pay. Other provinces began considered similar programs. In 1966, the federal government passed the Medical Care Act. Under this act physician services were covered under programs administered at the provincial level. The fees were split at a 50% rate between the federal and provincial governments. Another act, known as the Hospital Act allowed the provinces to develop their own health plans. Some provinces took a more inflexible approach to billing. After these acts were implemented costs began to rise across the country. The Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements and Established Programs Financing Acts were passed in 1977 to control costs. Block transfers lowered the federal government’s contribution to 25% which provided an incentive for the provincial governments to reduce costs. Finally, the Canada Health Act of 1984 combined all three pieces of legislation into one system which has become known as Medicare. One major outcomes of this act was the large reduction in balance billing from physicians. Since 1996, block grants such as, the Canada Health and Social Transfer and the Canadian Health Transfer have been the primary method for the federal government to provide financial support for healthcare. Provinces view these block grants as a way to reduce federal support for programs like Medicare (Johnson & Stoskopf, 2010).
Cost of Health Care in Canada
The cost of health care varies by province in Canada. Quebec has the lowest per capita spending and Alberta had the highest per capita spending. Expenditures are high in territories. Nunavut is the highest due to its broad geography and small population. In 2005, 28.6 % of healthcare spending was spent on hospital costs which made it the most...

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