Canada has a universal healthcare system. But is it really?

Perhaps one day our universal health care system will represent Canadians’ values, but certainly not anymore. American friends, you probably introduce us to the drinking age and “free healthcare.” Unfortunately, however, our healthcare system no longer embodies the principles of equality, respect, decency, safety, and peace that we hold so dear.

You may also be aware of our Prime Minister’s passion for dressing up and doing shirtless yoga. Aside from hockey, poutine, and maple syrup, few things have been more symbolic to Canada than our universal healthcare system.

Universal health care means that all medical services are covered for everyone, without discrimination based on race, financial status or social ties. It also means that no one should go bankrupt for Medicare or avoid treatment for financial reasons, which is a very common problem in the United States.

Unfortunately, our system has lost much of its universality today.

The public system does not cover all health care services, such as dentistry, vision, and long-term care, which are self-paid.

Not all Canadians have equal access to health care services, with some populations, such as First Nations and certain regions, facing greater barriers to care.

Not all Canadians have equal access to quality care, and some patients experience significant disparities in the quality and outcomes of the medical services they receive.

Not all Canadians have equal access to timely care, with extremely long waiting times for medical appointments or surgeries.

Not all Canadians have equal access to healthcare providers, with shortages of doctors, nurses, and other professionals across the country.

Not all Canadians have access to innovative treatments and technologies, as some patients do not have access to the latest medical advances.

Not all Canadians have equal access to comprehensive, coordinated care, with a lack of integration and coordination between different levels of care.

Not all Canadians have equal access to patient-centered and personalized care, with limited attention to patients’ unique needs and preferences.

Not all Canadians have equal access to health information and education, with limited support for patients to make informed decisions about their care.

Not all Canadians have equal access to health services in other countries when they are not available or accessible at home, with limited provisions for cross-border health care.

How did this happen?

Poor planning has created a massive imbalance between the demand and supply of healthcare services, and poor leadership is to blame. It is worth asking whether voters actually interact with hospitals at all.

There have been attempts to ration care to reduce spending (fewer medical services provided means less outlay by a single-payer system), but this has clearly led to a growing population that needs more care, not less, and waiting lists that stretch for months even for urgent care. and endemic staff shortages and outdated equipment.

In addition, life expectancy has increased from 75 to 81 over the past 40 years, while the number of births per woman has decreased from 1.74 to 1.4. This means that Canada, like most Western countries, is dealing with an aging population that is not being replaced.

Since five million Canadians will be 65 in this decade, the 2020s will be the ones to see the retirement of the last boomers. Among them, about 20 percent of doctors in Canada are 65 years of age or older. Our country will soon face an exodus of physicians due to retirement, as well as an epidemic of burnout, just as the demand for health care is increasing.

Studies also show that younger physicians, both male and female, do not work the same hours or provide the same amount of medical services as their predecessors did in the past. As a result, Canada is heading for a perfect storm due to the severe imbalance between supply and demand.

We realize that the health care system in the United States is also failing, becoming unaffordable for many people, who cannot access medical care even when they have insurance. Most Americans obtain insurance coverage through their employer, which limits options and puts off many treatments due to lack of insurance, huge co-costs, deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses. People also put off preventive care for the same reasons, which will lead to more medical expenses later.

An increasing number of our solution-seeking American friends seem to support a single payer system like ours, as suggested by Bernie Sanders. My advice is: don’t look north for inspiration. We are spoiled. Better models, such as in Switzerland, allow private health insurance, but if the person cannot pay, the government pays the premium.

Canadians tend to feel ungrateful that they don’t own the American system, but they also don’t speak out loud enough to push for the best. worldwide? I do not think so.

Jean Paul Brutus He is a hand surgeon.


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