Public Versus Private Hospitals In Canada

Public Versus Private Hospitals In Canada
Almost all the hospitals in Canada are public due to the existence of the national healthcare program called Medicare that guarantees basic health care to every citizen free of charge. Doctors in Canada are paid per visit or service provided, so there's no need to put them on salary as in many private hospitals. But the debate over what role private healthcare should play in Canada's system is growing every year.

Since Medicare only covers what is deemed basic medical care, it leaves a few blank gaps in the spectrum of healthcare. These gaps are covered by private medical insurance and include services like a ride in the ambulance or a private hospital room. Public hospitals handle the bulk of the care in Canada, whether it's through Medicare or covered under a private insurance scheme. The doctors don't care as they get paid either way.

There are only a handful of privately-run hospitals in Canada. Their services are not always covered under the Medicare umbrella and tend to focus on specialty medical care instead of general practitioner care. Privately-run clinics are also beginning to appear in more Canadian cities to handle the need for services like MRI and CAT scans, a process that can take two weeks or more to schedule at a public hospital. Most of these private clinics take excess Medicare work from the public hospitals but still cannot bump a privately paying patient to the front of the queue.

This is the main role currently being played by private hospitals and clinics in Canada. They do not serve the wealthy who do not want to wait several weeks for specialised medical care under the national Medicare program. They simply handle overflow from the public hospitals. This has opened a national debate on whether the government should move towards a two-tier health care system.

At the moment, wealthy Canadians go to America for immediate specialty medical care and pay dearly for it. Many Canadians are arguing that they should be allowed to pay a little more for the right to expedite their health care within Canada. Those who cannot afford to pay for fast service can enjoy the essentially free healthcare provided by the government.

Finding a way to reduce the notorious wait times for Canadian medical services is the main objective right now for the government. Opponents suggest that by letting people pay to jump the queue it, it will simply create longer wait times for those who can't pay. It's a valid point that is at the centre of this passionate debate that shows signs of progress but still has a long way to go until a new evolution in Medicare is achieved.