Healthcare in Canada
By: Ted Beust | Our Voice Contributor
The last time we discussed healthcare we took a look at the Dutch system. The Netherlands has a system similar to the Affordable Care Act, but stark differences are present. Now we will be taking a look at the healthcare system of Canada.
Canada’s healthcare system is called Medicare. As our version of Medicare only covers people over the age of 65, thanks to a former American President by the name of Lyndon Johnson, Canada’s Medicare covers everyone. From the moment you are born in Canada until the day you die, you are automatically covered under Canada’s Medicare system.
What makes Canadian Medicare different from the three previous systems discussed in this series is that that coverage is based on which province you reside in. Each province must offer coverage for services such as hospital care, dental surgery, and doctor visits. Alas we have stumbled upon the term Doctor instead of General Practitioner.
Most people believe Canada’s healthcare system is “free”. Truthfully, it’s pretty far from it. In the year 2018 each Canadian spent an average of $6,839 for their healthcare coverage. Medicare also takes up 11.3% of their GDP (Gross Domestic Product), on par with the Swiss at 12.2%, and way lower than the United States, where we are spending 17.9% of our GDP on healthcare.
Canadians also have the option to buy supplemental private health insurance. As of 2015 over 2/3 of Canadians buy supplemental insurance or get it from their employer.
So as you can see, Canada’s single payer system is much different than the three previous countries we have covered, where theirs is on a national scale. Is it perfect? No. No single payer system is perfect. However, affordable coverage is very reassuring. People can sleep at night knowing they don’t have to worry about bankruptcy due to healthcare.