The Fine Print of Health Care in Canada

The Canadian Federal Government subsidizes the system of healthcare in Canada. This is done through the taxes and individual pays to its province and these contributions are put back into the health care system of the province. This single payer system, as it is called, allows for the payment of the entire cost of the services by the government at the same rates throughout the country.

Since Canada is the second largest country in the world, it’s the national system of healthcare in Canada is governed by the Canada Health Act. The law provides for universally available coverage for permanent residents regardless of income levels. This coverage is comprehensive and can be availed of throughout the country as it is publicly administered. The provinces and territories are the primary providers of their healthcare plans and each of them must provide prepaid coverage for all medical services from provision, public health and prescription of necessary care for the individual.

Another benefit of the system is the provision for partial reimbursement of treatments obtained while outside Canada. It is also advised that Canadians traveling overseas obtain the proper medical insurance to avoid the higher medical costs in other countries especially for emergency care. As for prescription medication, the Canada Health Act requires hospitals to provide for free the necessary medication and supplies for the individual so long as they are admitted into the hospital.

Thus the main issue in the system of healthcare in Canada is the burden of costs for post hospital care. Drugs and prescription medication are very expensive in the country also rehabilitative treatment such as physiotherapy, dental treatment and other services are not covered by the system. This is addressed by the employer-employee comprehensive medical insurance coverage. Though only 80% of this rehabilitative cost is assumed in this program, this is already a big savings for you. The remaining 20% can be covered by a private medical insurance provider after your payment of their premiums.

As observed by many experts, the quality of healthcare in Canada differs among the provinces comprising the country. This is most especially highlighted in the rural communities of the country, as many specialized medical functions are not available compared to the urban areas. This is due to the differentiated funding and policies of the provincial governments and this correlates directly to the quality of health care in the areas. A secondary issue is the increasing flight of medical professionals to the more lucrative practices in the United States. This is clearly seen in the nursing profession, as many Canadian nurses opt to go to the United States for higher pay. A third issue is the increasing waiting time for patients to see specialists or choose to undergo elective surgery or even have diagnostic testing. This is clearly seen in the crowded emergency rooms in many of the hospitals all across the country.

The Federal government has undertaken programs to address these concerns in the system of healthcare in Canada. These include subsidies for increased manpower allocations for medical professionals, improvement of facilities and increasing pay and improve working conditions. The programs are now being felt throughout the country and was even highlighted in the Expat Forum, “despite the difficulties, the healthcare system bodes well for Canadian residents and future migrants.”

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