Healthcare In Canada

Healthcare In Canada
Healthcare in Canada is mainly provided by the government under its Medicare program. This publicly-funded system gives mostly free point of use medical care with most of the services provided by private entities. The Canada Health Act ensures that medical care is consistent and of good quality throughout the country, though each province monitors its own area.

In theory, Canada's Medicare system is very effective. Citizens' income taxes go, in part, to pay for the program, so that when one of them visits the doctor it is effectively free. The administrative simplicity of the program is what makes it work, as the government is largely hands-off. The doctor handles each insurance claim with the provincial insurer individually.

A health card is given to each person who is enrolled in Medicare. This card ensures the same level of medical care for everyone regardless of wealth or other factors. There is no need for a range of different healthcare plans because virtually every basic medical need is covered under the government program.

But like all free things there are inherent problems with the Medicare system. The biggest complaint is the wait times involved with almost every kind of medical service. Getting in to see your local doctor if you feel sick is never a problem. But if you need specialised care, consultation or a procedure there is almost always a waiting period of two to four weeks. The wait period is a main concern facing Medicare right now, and the government is putting a lot of effort into finding a solution.

Many Canadians purchase additional private healthcare insurance to cover certain things that are not included under Medicare such as some prescription drugs, dental or eye care. Private insurance cannot help with the waiting time for Medicare services, however.

Under the Medicare program, there is no disruption in healthcare due to loss of employment or change in address so long as the premiums are up to date. Family physicians are chosen by the individual and drug prices are negotiated by the Canadian government to help keep overall costs low for the program.

Pharmaceuticals are largely uncovered by the Medicare program unless the patient is elderly. This is one of the main reasons 27 per cent of Canadians buy private healthcare insurance or have it arranged as a supplement provided by their employer. Dental and vision care are also not included in most provincial Medicare programs but are covered under private health insurance policies.