Article by: Anonymous
Canada healthcare system is one of the best in the world. Most Canadians are proud of their healthcare facilities, which are far more efficient than those in the US. However, of late, many Canadians have expressed dissatisfaction at the mounting costs, high wait times and lack of coverage for chronic diseases.
The provincial health insurance program in Canada was first launched in Saskatchewan in 1962. According to this program, the hospital and doctor costs are shared 50/50 by the federal government and the patients.
This was followed by the National Medical Care Insurance Act, which was launched in 1968. This is Canada’s version of Obamacare wherein the government agrees to contribute to 50% of the private health insurance costs. Most people in Canada appreciated this and the government has let the health care system remain the same as it has been for the last 50 years.
However, what worked 50 years ago, may not work the same now. The Commonwealth Fund, a non-partisan group which ranks health care systems in developed nations, recently placed Canada in the 10th position – which was a real low, considering the proud history of Canadian health care. There are three reasons for this.
Long wait times
Canadians have excellent access to health care. Most people with urgent medical problems such as cancer, heart attack or stroke, have no problem getting access to top-rated hospital facilities and highly qualified doctors in quick time.
However, those with less urgent medical issues such as hip replacements, knee replacements, cataract surgery, shoulder surgery, and so on, find themselves having to wait exceedingly long for an appointment with a specialist. In fact, it takes months for a senior to be assigned to an assisted living facility, which is a big source of frustration.
Inadequate coverage for chronic diseases
Canada’s hospitals are some of the best in the world, and the government takes care of much of the health care costs. So those suffering from acute diseases and injuries are very well looked after –Canadian hospitals specialize at that.
However, the system is not so perfect when it comes to chronic diseases such as diabetes, lung disease, high blood pressure, dementia, backache and other chronic conditions, which commonly afflict middle-aged adults and seniors.
Those suffering from such chronic illnesses do not need to be hospitalized for too long. What they need is community-based solutions – they require nurses and care workers to visit them regularly at home and administer treatment. This type of care goes beyond hospitals, and the government does not seem prepared for this. Home-based or community-based healthcare facilities are severely lacking in Canada.
Health care costs in Canada have been rising consistently over the last decade and a half. The average expenditure on health care per person amounts to $4,790 USD. Health care accounted for 11% of the Canadian GDP in 2016, compared to 7% in 1975. The cost of universal hospital insurance has been increasing as well.
It is fair to say that the health care system in Canada is a victim of its success. The fact that Canadians are healthier than before and are living longer means there is a significant aging population in the country, which pushes up the health care costs to astronomical levels, placing an enormous burden on the system.