The Canadian Healthcare System and its Effect on
Development and Equity
November 22nd , 2012
Canada’s various social programs prove to be key factors in the process of development in terms of equity, redistribution, and cohesion within the country. Within the industrialized world, the ongoing debates about healthcare programs generate questions about how to design the most equitable and economically competitive system. In Canada, the debate lies between privatization and a publicly funded care system, as well as how healthcare money is distributed across the ten provinces and three territories. ...view middle of the document...
In 1932 the Economics of the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) issued a policy statement urging that government health insurance become necessary and inevitable (Tuohy 2009). The CMA became one of the representative bodies for the Canadian proposals in the wartime and postwar circumstances by the 1940s, and was heavily influenced by advice from Canadian doctors working abroad who were supportive of compulsory health insurance for the entire population (Tuohy 2009). During the War era in Canada these changes in healthcare seemed inevitable to development, as civil rights were increasingly important and became a primary focus of federal governments around the world. Equity and social justice became a driving force for the expanding range of insurance plans within Canada.
Following the Second World War, healthcare developments in Canada paralleled similar patterns and challenges as Britain (Tuohy 2009). The emergence of public health insurance coincided with an era if co-operative federalism. Saskatchewan was the first province to set up public hospital insurance under the lead of Tommy Douglas in 1947. The development in Saskatchewan put political pressure on other provinces and notably Ontario (Maioni).
Federal-provincial relations in Canada had been quite tense until the 1950s when the hostility began to thaw. One of the reasons for this was a change was the election of Liberal Prime Minister Louis St. Laurent and his cordial relationship with the newly elected Premier of Ontario Leslie Frost. Ontario then supported a number of federal and provincial cost sharing initiatives (Tuohy 2009). In 1957, the Liberal government under Louis St. Laurent passed the Hospital Insurance and Diagnostic Services Act, which made insurance coverage universal as the federal government would reimburse half of the provincial hospital insurance plan costs (Maioni).
The idea of private health insurance persuaded many of the key participants in the private-sector, even the medical and hospital groups who were now in favor of governmental subsidization of health insurance for those with low incomes (Tuohy 2009). A sufficient coalition of support assembled in favor of governmental hospital insurance and nor for medical insurance was signed between 1958 and 1959 by all provinces except for Quebec, who later joined in 1961 (Tuohy 2009). This step towards social justice across provinces was key to the later development of a comprehensive medical insurance plan.
The Canadian economy boomed in the 1960s, growing at an average annual rate of 5% in real terms for the decade. The issue of governmental medical healthcare became and important agenda of the federal-provincial relations, favorable to medical care insurance in terms of cost (Tuohy 2009). Saskatchewan then introduced public medical insurance in 1962 in which was a comprehensive government-sponsored system, thus propelling a gruesome 23 day doctor’s strike (Tuohy). The Hall Commission in 1964 urged the federal...