Health Care System in Canada

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Category: Societal Issues

Date Submitted: 06/05/2008 12:29 PM

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The universal healthcare system in Canada has been said to be the best in the world. Before being able

to draw such a conclusion, it is important to analyze this system and what it has to offer; its benefits, its

drawbacks, along with how it compares to other systems of the world, like that of the United States of

America. There has recently been a debate in the parliament concerning a so called crisis with the universal

healthcare system in Canada. What does this “crisis” encompass? And the main question is: where do we go

from here? I plan to examine all of the aspects mentioned above to determine whether or not the Canadian

healthcare system is in fact the best in the world and how its future will affect the Canadian population.

Let me begin with a simple definition and a brief history of universal healthcare in Canada. Universal

healthcare is a government sponsored system providing equal access to health care for everyone within a

nation, regardless of income and employment status. This concept all began in 1919 when Mackenzie King

promised Canadians national health insurance. But this was not successful until 1944, when Tommy Douglas,

from Saskatchewan, followed up on the idea. Tommy Douglas developed the Cooperative Commonwealth

Federation and had the province of Saskatchewan pass the Saskatchewan Hospitalization Act, which provided

public insurance for hospital care. It was only in 1957 with the Hospital Insurance and Diagnostic Services Act

that the government agreed to pay for half of the cost of services. There was a flaw with this act; this insurance

coverage only covered services performed within hospitals. So in 1962, according to economic experts Rachlis

and Kushner (1989), “90% of Saskatchewan doctors protested the implementation of the Saskatchewan

Medical Care Insurance Act by going on strike” (p.16). The federal government gave in to their demands and

agreed to reimburse...