Healthcare in Canada: Milestones and Opportunities

Cecilia Van Kouenberge of Frost & Sullivan’s TechCasting Group highlights healthcare in Canada, focusing on the milestones and opportunities unleashed by epidemics. The discussion begins with an ideal all over the world, Canada Medicare

Canada is one of the most developed unions worldwide and one of the members of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). With strong political power and political responsibility to govern ten provinces and three territories, including the province of Quebec, with a unique French-speaking linguistic and cultural context. Healthcare in Canada has a system known as Medicare, which is a decentralized system. In fact, it comprises a combination of provincial and territorial, tax, publicly funded, and global health insurance Plans are subject to national standards.

team of Researchers from six different universities in Canada The University of Toronto, Dalhousie University, McGill University, University of British Columbia, University of Montreal, and the University of Regina have published a series of papers on the Canadian health system and global health leadership (Martin et al., 2018; Marcheldon et al., 2020; Marshildon and Toohy, 2021). The researchers analyzed the country’s individual trajectory in providing a high-quality, accessible, affordable and comprehensive health care system and the key factors influencing policy makers while advising on its potential to become a global model.

According to the researchers, Canadian Medicare is based on need rather than ability to pay. Therefore, it constitutes more than a set of general insurance plans. More than 90% of Canadians agree on the health care system as a primary source of collective pride, an implicit social contract between governments, health care providers and the public. The Canadian Institute of Health Information (2021) also indicates that health expenditures as a percentage of GDP amounted to 11.5% in 2020 (Ufodike et al., 2021).

On the other hand, Canada is facing an aging population and financial constraints in its publicly funded programs which deserve attention. Its vast geography, high immigration rates, and ethnic and cultural diversity are also important factors in offering health and wellness options. Decentralization comes with a certain level of fragmentation inherent in the fact that hospitals and authorities have their own independent boards and separate budgets.

Canada Pharmacare and Long-Term Care: A Paradigm Leap after COVID-19

Some researchers note some of the problems inherent in the country’s health system (Martin et al., 2018). While Canadians have a life expectancy of 82.14 years – higher than measures by the OECD, US, UK and Denmark – the average masks differences in vulnerable groups. Social and Economic Inequality in health Significant, and persistent large gaps in health outcomes between Indigenous peoples and the rest of Canadians present a major challenge to the health system and society at large (Marchildon et al., 2020).

Healthcare in Canada, in contrast to the major countries, is often slow and gradual in terms of change and resilient to new eras. Furthermore, although urgent medical and surgical care is prompt and of high quality, the timing of elective care, such as scheduled surgeries, non-urgent advanced imaging, and outpatient specialty visits, is problematic.

Finally, Canada is the only developed country with universal health coverage that does not include prescription medications. However, it is important to highlight that there have been some initiatives towards introducing a national program to cover prescription drugs, called Pharmacare, despite COVID-19. pandemic that began in 2020 may represent an inflection point in addressing this problem (Marchildon et al., 2020). According to the researchers, this fact could represent a paradigm shift from the addition of outpatient drugs to UHC toward federal standards in long-term care (LTC) and their possible inclusion in UHC (Marchildon and Tuohy, 2021). In their opinion, the best option would be an LTC insurance program that is directly linked to Canada’s public pension arrangements.

Researchers working at McMaster University tracked the Physician Assistants (PA) experience provided by the Ministry of Health and Long[1]Temporary care (MOHLTC) in the Ontario health care system a decade ago, with current post-pandemic concerns aiming to help increase access, speed, continuity of care, and work interaction (Burrows et al., 2020).

concluding remarks

The COVID-19 pandemic has opened an opportunity for policy reform in previously neglected areas. In Canada, the first finding was related to an increase in the federal government’s presence beyond traditional Medicare coverage. The current debate focuses more on LTC, leaving Pharmacare once again deferred for further discussions.

Acknowledgments I would like to thank all the contributors from the industry involved in developing and providing this article from Frost & Sullivan.

in-depth reading

  1. Burrows, K.E., Abelson, J., Miller, PA, Levine, M. and Vanstone, M., 2020. Understanding the integration of the role of health professionals in complex coping systems: a multi-case study of physician assistants in Ontario, Canada. BMC Health Services Research, 20(1), pp. 1-14.
  2. Marchildon, GP and Tuohy, CH, 2021. Expanding healthcare coverage in Canada: a radical shift in the debate. Health Economics, Politics, and Law, 16(3), pp. 371-377.
  3. Marchildon, G. P., Allin, S. and Merkur, S., 2020. Canada: Health System Review. Health Systems in Transition, 22(3).
  4. Martin, D., Miller, AP, Quesnel-Vallée, A., Caron, NR, Vissandjée, B. and Marchildon, GP, 2018. Canada’s universal health care system: realizing its potential. The Lancet, 391 (10131), pp. 1718–1735.
  5. Ufodike, A., Okafor, ON and Opara, M., 2021. First Nations Gatekeepers as a Shared Healthcare Institution: Evidence from Canada. Financial accountability and management.

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