Friday, January 13, 2012

Essay on Canada

Essay on Canada

One should start by saying that health policy in modern day Canada is believed to be among the best health services in the world. Nevertheless, the demand for these healthcare services is constantly growing while the economic resources available for health care are diminishing. Originally healthcare initiatives were defined and presented in 1964 by the Royal Commission on Health Services and defined the main goal as to present quick and equal access to medical care for all Canadians. The current issue/goal is to help all Canadians to achieve the best possible state of health for each individual and achieve that within the proper constraints as imposed by ever-improving social, economic, political and technological environment.


The given issue had been expressed in the policy for health that was reflected in the mandate of the commission on the future of Canadian health care. The year 2002 was marked by the Commission’s recommendation regarding the new policies and measure that would assure sustainable, universally accessible, and publicly funded medical system providing only quality services in the long-run (Evans, 120). The policies attempted to find an optimal balance as to whether to fund preventive or health maintenance healthcare to assure proper services with least amount of investment. The recommendations speak about the sources of financing, organizational changes and challenges that the new policy goals currently face.

Currently these issues are divided into the following main categories:
a. Government responsibility for Canadian Health. The federal health department started to take responsibility for the national health in 1919; before that it was department of agriculture to cover any health-related needs. The new health department was created in 1993 and the federal government’s responsibility started to cover all health services for Canadians, Indians/Inuits, federal employees, and immigrants. The health department also started to control food and drugs, inspect medical devices, research the public health, administer health care insurance, collect general information about services related to health conditions and practices on the territory of Canada. The health care responsibility for the government is derived from the government’s constitutional power over criminal law, government spending on peace, order and good government of Canada. The government currently controls the medicine through Food and Drugs Act, Controlled Substance Act,  Canada Health Act, and Canada Health and Social Transfer (CHST). Still, one needs to understand that the role of provinces in providing healthcare is also growing.
b. Healthcare financing. The federal government of Canada has the power to generate finance for healthcare through taxation and borrowing as long as it does not infringe on provincial powers. The National health Grants Program of 1948 was first insurance-type program for all Canada. The grants were welcomed by all provinces that required funds for planning and organization, public health and hospital construction.  The creation o Hospital Insurance and Diagnostic Services Act of 1957 and the Medical Care Act of 1966 unified all provinces and contributed to the nation wide health insurance system for Canada (Miller Chenier 132).

Currently Canada is in a great need to address the following issues that are a part of the Canadian society:
1. Tobacco control. Although some efforts are made with respect to advertising control and prohibition of sale of tobacco products to minors, Canada still needs to develop proper anti-smoking propaganda campaigns similar to those created in the USA.
2. Same sex marriage. Same sex marriages are permitted and major provinces boast a growing number of same sex marriages already. Certainly, one has not conducted any particular statistics regarding the future impact of same-sex marriages on the public health and morality.
3. Alberta’s possible tax deductions for gym memberships. Tax deduction for gym memberships as might be created in Alberta shows a wonderful attempt by the local government to stimulate physical activity among Canadians and invest in preventive healthcare. In my humble opinion, such initiative as presented by one province is a good boost of public preventive healthcare (Boychuk, 23).
4. Accessibility to healthcare is believed to be universal, yet still it is believed that Indians and Inuit communities of Canada are deprived of proper healthcare. Furthermore, there exist long queues for important organ transplants which although formally being of quick assess to everyone is of little physical access to people.
5. Privatization of healthcare. There are debates among political, economist and healthcare thinkers about the pros and cons of private healthcare options similar to those present in the USA. Currently, one views Canadian system of public welfare as superior to the US healthcare system that fully benefits only the rich and leaves the poor with little choice.
6. Pharmacare. One needs to understand that pharmacare is the government initiative created to subsidize eligible prescription drugs and necessary medical supplies to protect Canadians from high drug costs (Madore, 179).  Pharmacare provides several plans (e.g. Fair Pharmacare plan) that present financial assistance mostly to families who need it based on their household net income. The family pays a deductible based on the family income. The family pays a monthly deductible payment option (monthly installments) and start receiving PharmaCare assistance and services immediately.
Currently Pharmacare covers arthritis, fertility, hepatitis C, HIV/AIDS, Injectable Medicine, PAH (Hypertension), RSV, and transplants. The official pharmacare website, located at allows Canadians quickly estimate their deductible for Pharmacare plans and engage in it online. As one can predict, Pharmacare is suitable for every person who needs it based on his/her income.

At present Canadian government cooperates with numerous healthcare organizations with provincial and territorial representation to protect the health of Canadians from various sicknesses.

The healthcare department of Canada operates through the Health Intelligence Network and thus works with different levels of Canadian government across the Canadian healthcare system paying close attention to healthcare surveillance, prevention, control and research to predict and tap possible epidemics and outbreaks in Canada and other countries worldwide.

The Health Canada supervises various foods in Canada by administering food and Drugs Act and releasing advisories and warnings on existing consumables in Canada like foods and drugs, beautycare products. The most recent focus is on Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and Natural foods.

The government of Canada believes that it should play a drastically important role in securing public health and safety.

The Canadian government attempts to achieve positive health improvements by implementing the following different changes:
1. Invest heavily into public safety and emergency preparedness to integrate into a single portfolio of important activities.
2. merge the office of Critical Infrastructure Protection and Emergency Preparedness Office into Public Safety and emergency preparedness portfolio. This is believed to improve efficiency and effectiveness of Canadian healthcare system with respect to natural disaster and emergencies.
3. The Public Safety and emergency preparedness portfolio will tap natural disasters around the world as well as local emergencies.
4. Public initiatives used to protect the health of immigrants and foreigners living permanently or temporarily in Canada.
5. Government initiative to support a new Canada Public Health agency under the Minister of Health.

The following issues one still needs to address in the Canadian healthcare system:
1. Equity of access. Since the healthcare system is public it creates excessive demand for the services that basically cost nothing to people (except for their taxes). On one hand every person regardless of their financial status can be the needed attention and support. On the other hand, increased affordability leads to drug abuse, and inefficient spending of the scarce government resources applied to cases that do not necessarily need medical treatment the patient requires.
2. Safety vs. Efficiency.  Healthcare in every country needs to be safe since one deals with human health. Therefore, much investment should be directed towards developing and licensing safe drugs while abandoning unsafe products. Efficiency, on the other hand demand competition among existing health care institutions, healthcare plans and pharmaceutical companies. Competition although improves efficiency and contributes to safety in the long-run, in the short run might provide unsafe drugs as long as they are bought by the public. The role of Canadian public healthcare is to serve as a judge, selecting the best drugs to distribute to the patients and direct the pharmaceutical companies toward producing these government-endorsed drugs (Marmor, 210).
3. Cost vs. Containment. As every publicly funded program, healthcare appears to be underfunded. The need to control the spread of disease and to assure customer satisfaction typically requires high expenditures that may never be enough taking into account the publicly-funded nature of medicine in Canada.

Speaking about the main issue that should be given highest priority, I believe that it should be the full public insurance plan to cover all costs. Unlike other issues, the need to possess affordable full insurance is apparent. People should be given a monetary compensation in time of sickness according to their insurance plans. Then, a person would have a freedom to choose what healthcare institution she/he wants to use to remedy their disease. Insurance will provide people with an option of attending local hospitals and possibly foreign hospitals should Canadian hospitals fail to meet the customer needs adequately and in a timely manner.
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