II. Access to Care Key Features
All residents have access to “medically necessary hospital and physician services, on a prepaid basis” (Health Canada, 2013).
Some populations (i.e., seniors, children and social assistance recipients) are eligible for government funded supplementary health care benefits (i.e., prescription drugs, dental care, vision care, medical equipment and appliances (prostheses, wheelchairs, etc.), independent living and the services of allied health professionals, such as podiatrists and chiropractors). Other residents obtain extended health benefits insurance through their employers or they may purchase them directly. (Health Canada, 2013).
A. Availability of Care
According to the Conference Board of Canada (2013), “Canadians have universal access to health care services, highly skilled and committed health care professionals, and internationally recognized health care and research institutions.” Despite this, the CBC gave Canada a “B” grade on their health care system in large part due to the following:
Wait times for diagnostics and elective treatments
Canadians wait longer for health services than any other developed country. The OECD (2013) notes that Canada is one of five countries (out of a survey of 22) that report major wait-time problems in all six possible health care categories.
Inadequate health information systems
“Canada is a slow adopter of innovative technologies that could enhance the quality of health care services and improve the health and quality of life of Canadians” (Muzyka, Hodgson, and Prada, 2012)
B. Type of System
Universal Health Care- Medicare
Canadians enjoy universal access to medically necessary health care services that is funded, predominantly, by tax dollars. “Universal coverage for medically necessary health care services provided on the basis of need, rather than the ability to pay” (Health Canada, 2013).
Each provincial and territorial government manages, delivers, and administers health care services in their jurisdictions, within the constraints of the federal legislation outlined in the Canada Health Act. “The Act sets out the primary objective of Canadian health care policy, which is ‘to protect, promote and restore the physical and mental well-being of residents of Canada and to facilitate reasonable access to health services without financial or other barriers'” (Health Canada, 2013).
- Conference Board of Canada (2013). How Canada performs: Health. Available at: http://www.conferenceboard.ca/hcp/details/health.aspx
- Health Canada (2013). Government of Canada: Health Canada website. http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hcs-sss/index-eng.php
- Muzyka D., Hodgson, G., and Prada, G. (2012). The inconvenient truths about Canadian health care. Ottawa, ON:Conference Board of Canada. Available at: http://www.conferenceboard.ca/cashc/research/2012/inconvenient_truths.aspx
- Siciliani, L., Borowitz, M., and Moran, V. (Eds.) (2013).Waiting time policies in the health sector: What works?, OECD Health Policy Studies, OECD Publishing. http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264179080-en