Canada’s health care system isn’t really free as there’s monthly premiums or yearly premiums to pay as well as taxes which pay for the entire health care system. There may also be some out of pocket expenses for non-insured services. In Canada there’s access to universal health care regardless of status, income, employment, health, or age. The administration of the heath care is done on a province to province basis. So when we try to evaluate the efficiency of the universal health care in Canada, let’s make a list of pros and cons of the universal health care so we can have better ideas what is good and what is bad for this kind of single payer health care system.
Pro of Healthcare in Canada: Access of Health Care for Everyone
In Canada anyone can get health care so this is a major advantage of this system. As long as the person is a resident of Canada they will receive some level of health care. People that are unemployed, student, disabled. Pensioners and so on can still get health care in Canada. This is usually the most talked about pro to universal health care and why it’s promoted so heavily. Hence, as it is administered by the Canadian government, the support for this health care system is really to improve the overall health of the citizens. It is an easy access and equal services for everyone, which will be a good future outgrowth to the increase of productivity and to cutback on the number of illnesses. For this reason, the coverage is universal and unrestricted where to get medical treatment is free as long as it doesn’t cover things such as drugs prescription, dental care, as well as eye care or glasses. Drugs are set to be cheap by pharmacy companies at a federal level.
Con of Healthcare in Canada: There can be Wait Times
Most non-emergency surgeries will require wait times. These wait times may put the patient at risk while they wait for a surgery or their condition may deteriorate as they wait. Those that need priority care make the wait times for others very frustrating. Seniors, those with life threatening conditions, and other urgent cases will be looked after first while others can sometimes wait a long time. Moreover, today, in 2016, these wait times circumstances have becoming more critical since of last year. This year’s waiting times are the longest it’s ever been recorded since 1993. From 9.3 weeks wait list in 1993 went up to 20 weeks, just an increase of 2.3 weeks in 2015. The total wait times that are faced by patients are evaluated in two continuous process. First, patients well-being are being referred from a general practitioner to a specialist. Second, referral from a specialist directly to where patients receive actual treatments. Again, this has become a serious issue for those with serious illnesses.
Pro: Education programs Reduce Costs
There are programs that work towards preventing injuries and teaching citizens about health issues. There’s more public awareness about health risks and these programs are funded by the Government. These programs are created to help reduce health care costs and to teach people how to take control of their health before there are more serious problems. There are programs for seniors, those with disabilities, awareness campaigns for back injuries, and so on. These programs help people in Canada stay healthier because they get more education about health related issues.
Con: Fees Don’t Take into Consideration Cost of Living
Health care providers are limited to what they can charge by the government. This limit can cap the earning potential of various providers and make it harder to pay back loans, limit their earning potential, and undermine their overall life. The limit of what they can charge may not keep pace with their cost of living. In other words, these potential health care providers, as well as practitioners, are authorized by the government to charge their patients for a specific amount of money in terms of treatments and other medical bills. Most of the medical bills, however, are relatively high and surprisingly the fees are mostly paid by taxpayers. In some cases, health care providers are paying off their loans to keep up with their businesses, since taxpayers feel the burden to pay high-cost fees. As a result, some health care providers have poor services. This is also a reason patients are on a waiting list.
Pro: Veterans are Looked After in Elder Years
The health care of veterans is well looked after in Canada and they get the care that they need in their later lives when they may be in care homes or seniors centers. The government just doesn’t treat injuries sustained in service of their country, the veterans get whatever care that they need. By all means, all veterans who are injured, disabled and in their old ages are admitted to a lifelong financial support and care under the Canadian health care system. These long-term care are included medical care facilities and comfort accommodations at nursing homes all over Canada. There are two care facilities and support arrangements for the long-serving veterans. One is called the “community” beds for nursing home care facilities specifically for the veterans as well as residents in a particular community. Another one is called the “contract” beds that are first priority home care facilities addressed for qualified veterans.
Con: Those in Rural Areas May Not Get a Fair Share of Care
The health care revenues are redistributed according to demographics but the rural areas may not get the funding that they need to cover all costs like the larger cities do. The facilities in these locations are improved at a slower rate which may require patients to go to city centers to get the care that they need there can be a shortage of specialists and doctors in these areas. In general, the life of the population in rural Canada have higher rates of deaths as well as infant mortality. Due to the lack of knowledge about health issues, the rural areas have very little accesses especially on health education. The number of general practitioners are also very less since the urban area offers more opportunities to grow. It’s also a challenge for these practitioners to treat patients with serious illnesses and that it will take time to transfer them to a bigger hospital. Therefore, it has been a serious matter as of today for the rural Canadians to get their fair share of health care system.
Pro: Excellency in Primary Care
Once you get to know a little bit about Canada’s health care system and joined the system, you will notice its excellence in primary care. In general, the system is focusing more into improving their medical resources for chronic illnesses and other medical technologies. Some medical treatments such as cardiovascular disease and many forms of cancer diseases are handled much better than other countries, since these chronic illnesses are the number one causes of death rates. Thus, in certain Canadian provinces, a team of healthcare experts are giving out more promotional events to the community on health and illness prevention.
Con: The Health Care System itself needs to be More Active and Outgoing
As good as it can be, the health care system in Canada needs to be more active and collective in terms of getting more efficiency in treating patients. Not all provinces gets to have insightful health promotion and prevention, but only happens when things are worse. Promotion and prevention should be about giving out to the community before it’s happening, not once it’s becomes an issue. It takes time for the system to reach out and aware of the shifting in illness and it’s treatments. They have good health care programs, but not too outgoing enough in terms of handling issues of health outcomes.
Pro: An Overall of “B” Ranking for Health Performance and Quality of Life
Canada has been proven to be one of the best in health care system in the world despite some of the flaws here and there. According to the Conference Board of Canada, its overall performance on health outcomes is ranked “B” amongst its peer countries, which means Canada is still in a good condition when it comes to their survival rates. Therefore, Canada ranks its best on seven health indicators that includes better life expectancy, mortality due to medical mishaps, abortive mortality, mortality caused by respiratory disorders, mortality for circulatory disorders, death rates in mental disorders and self-reporting health condition.
Con: A Political Decision Making Strategy
The downside of the Canadian health care system is highly a matter of a political issue towards decision making strategy in terms of the direct involvement from the federal level, meaning the public system, or by private funding on the health care outcomes. At the federal level, particular provinces in Canada are mostly responsible for all the administrative processes and the policies of the health care system itself. Whereas, private fundings and services comes from a more private level clinics who can do shorter wait lists for patients. These issues will be unfair especially for low income people and the urban population.
Pro: No Elaborate Bills, No Co-Pays and Almost No Paperworks
Just by reading the headline, by all means there are no elaborate bills you have no wonder what it means, no co-pays or deductibles, or any kind of medical paperworks inside Canada’s health care system. There is also no need to be involved with the billing and reclaim department. Hence, 30% of the financing itself are covered already under the private health expenses. In the meantime, there’s free of choice for any doctors, physicians and the hospitals you prefer. No lists of general practitioners or hospitals you need to be in for your specific area or home address, in other words, no restriction.
Note: One of our readers,Maureen Heath, mentioned that “your article “the pros and cons of Universal Health care in Canada. there are quite a few things you skipped over, like the best home care and palliative in North America.. pricing, wait times, etc. depends on what province you live in. Wait times? Never waited once in emergency in Alberta, In the US I have waited up to 15 hours. wait time for tests? it’s true, you normally don’t have to wait longer than a month for tests depending on where you live. if they socialize American health Care with this next election. I loved Canadian health care. My late husband had cancer, we spent three years in Red Deer, many times running up to the cancer institute in Edmonton. Unfortunately in the US, it’s all about big insurance companies, impersonal and you just become a number. both forms of health care have their pros and cons”