Best of July 10, 1991 Mess – Is Canada’s Health Care System Better? 7-14-21 | Mille Lacs Messenger

Over the past month I have had a number of conversations about the cost of health care and generally there are comments about the Canadian health care system and how cheaper and better than what we are. have in the state.

The Canadian health care system was established in 1971. It provides its citizens with universal access to a wide range of medical services through a network of health plans in Canada’s 10 provinces, which are similar to our states. Every Canadian province is required to create and administer a public health care plan that meets basic federal government guidelines. Canadians are free to choose their doctor and hospital, and generally do not pay for health care at the time of childbirth. Rather, the health care system is funded by income and sales taxes imposed by the federal and provincial governments. The provincial government pays providers directly for all covered medical and hospital services. Payments to physicians are made on a fee-for-service basis, but the fee schedule is based on a rate per visit, regardless of the physician’s time and effort. Hospitals are also paid directly by the provincial health insurance plan for the services they provide. Based on the number and type of patients the hospital provided services to in the previous year, taking into account population changes, the government sets the amount of money each hospital will receive in its annual capped budget. Hospitals that spend less than their allocated amount in a year do not keep the excess; it is subtracted from the budget allocation for the following year. Hospitals that spend more than their budget allocation in a year typically have to absorb the loss.

Provinces control their health care costs by limiting the diffusion of technological innovation, primarily by restricting funding for hospital capital acquisitions. Technologies such as magnetic resonance imaging machines or open heart surgery facilities are less available in Canada than in the United States. This is true whether measured by the number of establishments offering various technologies or by the number of individuals that each establishment serves.

Because the available resources of hospitals and other providers are not sufficient to meet patient demand, physicians must ration health services to stay within budget. Health services are rationed by queues or waiting lists. Patients are put on waiting lists for hospital space, for certain types of medical procedures, or are literally lined up in hospital corridors waiting for care. Indeed, the Canadian system requires physicians and hospitals to decide who receives care and who does not.

The Canadian health care system spent $ 1,483 per person on health care in 1987 – more than any other country except the United States, which spent $ 2,051, mostly through insurance plans private. While there is little demand for private health plans in Canada, waiting lists for emergency heart and cancer treatment at some centers are pushing Canadians to visit US hospitals that have problems. facilities available. For Canadians seeking medical care in the United States, the Province of Ontario will reimburse 75% of the medical costs while the patient has to pay the balance. A private volunteer group, “Healthbeat Windsor” in Ontario, claims to have referred 400 Canadians to US hospitals for critical heart operations. In Vancouver, the British Columbia Ministry of Health sent a group of patients on the waiting list to Seattle for heart surgery.

The bottom line is that you can cut costs by capping the amount of dollars paid, but this, in turn, reduces the amount of health care services available. I don’t believe you can bring the Canadian health care system to the United States because the citizens of our country are unwilling to stand in line or wait for money to be available to meet their health care needs . Canadians are very fortunate to have the United States health care system at their disposal for such medical procedures, because rather than being on a waiting list, they can make arrangements to obtain the services. medical requirements at the many facilities available in the United States. . The reason the Canadian health care system works is that the more expensive American health care system works and is available.

Editor’s Note: Fred Haack was the General Manager of the Mille Lacs Health System in Onamia.

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