By Christine Whitmarsh, RN, BSN
Canada currently utilizes many of the principles of universal medicine that American lawmakers are working to emulate. Whether you agree, disagree or are on the fence about these principles, it only seems right to look at Canadian health care as our own lawmakers try to see into the future and figure out a solution to America’s health care challenges.
-Canada’s current national health care system was established in 1962.
-Health care in Canada is funded by the federal government, provincial and territorial governments via taxation on personal and corporate income, sales tax and annual fees as their main sources of funding.
-A 2008 survey from the Canadian Health Association reveals 49% of public feel access to family doctors has declined since 2006
-2007 version of the same survey showed that 57% of Canadian residents felt they received “quality” health care (based on criteria such as long wait times to see doctors, receive diagnostics and procedures, etc.)
-2002 Canadian Nursing Association Report highlighted a severe shortage of doctors, nurses, health care personnel
-Between 2006 and 2008 more than 160 patients were sent from Ontario to the U.S. for “emergency neurosurgery”
-“Lotteries” are now being held in some Canadian towns, where the “winning” patients get to see the local physician
-Study published in Lancet Oncology reveals that five-year cancer survival rates higher in U.S. than Canada
Is this a glimpse into our future or simply a comparable comparison that may give us a general sense of the outcomes of universal medicine? One of the most talked about problems with the health care system in Canada and in countries with similar systems, is the resulting shortage of physicians. A factor in this is reported to be close government involvement in treatment decisions and price setting. Of course this is similar to the role that private insurance companies play now.
Ironically, after nearly 50 years with a socialized system, Canada is now taking steps toward less government control and more private control, by attempting to break up government health care monopolies and establishing more and more private health care clinics. Our own lawmakers might not have to look into a crystal ball after all.
Here in the states, the Locum Tenens Agency is working hard to help manage America’s growing shortage of physicians. Locum Tenens jobs are available in towns, cities and regions that need physicians the most.
Source: Wall Street Journal, The Examiner
Christine Whitmarsh is a Registered Nurse with a BSN from the University of Rhode Island. She is a freelance health journalist and medical writer and a contributor to Travel Nurse Source and Allied Travel Careers.