Essay Preview: Health Care
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For much of the past half century, Canada has been a world renowned leader in social issues such as Education, Healthcare, and other social programs. For this reason, many Canadians feel it is extremely important to maintain high standards in these areas. As a result of these high standards being maintained, Canada is a very highly educated, healthy, society with high adult literacy rates, and long life expectancies. Over the last decade Canada was ranked in the number one position seven times, and is currently sitting at the number four position in the world on such attributes as poverty, education and public spending, commitment to health (resources, access and services), health crises, risks and survival; progress and setbacks (“United Nations,” 2004). Healthcare is a constant issue of debate between politicians and policy makers because the issue is of great importance to the population. Therefore, as elected representatives, it is their duty, as well as in their best interest if they would like to stay in office, to try their best to implement policies which are considered important by Canadian citizens. Public Policy as defined by most political theorists is described as what governments choose to do or what governments choose not to do. Politicians allocate fiscal resources towards institutions which are in need of repair or upgrade as well as making financial cutbacks in other areas to allow for the proper allocation of funds to where the money is deemed to be most needed. In Canada, the political government is quite special and unique because of the elaborate methods and interplay the federal and provincial governments have between each other regarding federal and provincial spending as well as policy formulation. These unique methods for policy formulation have given Canada some of the top social programs in the world making Canada one of the top nations in the world to live in. Healthy citizens are the beginning to making sure that Canada not only remains as a top nation, but continues to improve and strive for excellences. To attain this goal the government must provide continual research and funding toward disease prevention and education promoting methods of avoidance. All of this is mandated under Canadas policy on healthcare and inside a subsystem concerning diseases and conditions.
For the Canadian Healthcare system to work effectively and as efficiently as possible it requires a lot of communication and collaboration between not only provincial and federal governments, but also between all actors and institutions at all levels of government. Ralph Goodale, the Minister of Finance is responsible for managing and presenting annual federal budgets, as well as methodological decision making as to the direction of funding to systems in need. Ujjal Dosanjh, the Minister if Health is responsible for overseeing the federal governments health department and enforcing the Canada Health Act. Other relevant actors and institutions would include the federal government, (Prime Minister, Minister of Finance, Minister of Health, and All other actors and institutions working at a federal level) which are responsible for setting and administering national principles for the health care system through the Canada Health Act. It is the major source assisting in the financing of provincial/territorial health care services through fiscal transfers and delivering health care services to specific groups (e.g. First Nations and Inuit and veterans), and finally, it provides other health-related functions such as public health and health protection programs and health research. The Minister of State for Public Health, Dr. Carolyn Bennett works closely with the provinces, territories and Chief Medical Officers of Health to enhance our capacity for an effective, coordinated public health system for Canadians. The Provincial Premiers and governments responsibilities include such things as determining how many beds will be available in a province; what categories of staff will be hired; determining how the system will serve the population; approving hospital budgets; negotiating fee scales with medical associations; and most importantly administering the public health-care insurance plan in their own province. Chief Public Health Officer of Canada, Dr. David Butler-Jones through federal leadership and collaboration of the provinces provides a major role of expertise and research efforts to prevent chronic diseases like cancer and heart disease, as well as to prevent injuries and respond to public health emergencies and infectious disease outbreaks. The agency provides a base for health surveillance, threat identification and disease prevention and control. Canadian Health Networks (National Collaboration Centers) which include 6 national collaboration centers, have objectives including building on existing strengths and working together with the provinces, institutions and other stakeholders to create connections, and communications among researchers. The Networks seek out to provide general knowledge to enhance the effectiveness of policies, programs and policies that promote the health of Canadians. They also focus on the production of information and awareness of chronic and infectious disease and possible measures for prevention and control as well as training for future public health researchers and practitioners.
This system did not just appear at confederation though. The idea of Healthcare dates back to the Canadian Constitution of 1867. Under the Constitution, healthcare among other social programs fell under provincial and territorial jurisdictions and responsibilities. It was not until the end of World War One and World War Two that many believed the true sense of the healthcare as we know it, was created. Returning veterans were in dire need of sometimes constant medical needs and provincial governments felt it was their responsibility (Premont, 2002). Public Financing for hospitals first appeared in Saskatchewan in 1947. It wasnt until the Hospital insurance and diagnostic act of 1957 that a nationwide healthcare was established. This allowed all Canadian citizens access to hospital and diagnostic services as required (Premont, 2002). Although the Hospital insurance and diagnostic act of 1957 was a great step forward in public healthcare, the services of physicians still had to be paid for separately.
In 1966, the hospital insurance and diagnostic act of 1957 was extended to ensure public funding of services rendered by physicians. Referred to as “Medicare”, the Medicare insurance act of 1966 operated under four basic ideas. All citizens contributed through general taxation and it is insurance based, it was organized so that the federal and provincial governments would fund the Medicare equally. Also, the program