Canadians want national medical standards to prevent inequalities

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: (Published 20 January 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e520
  1. Barbara Kermode-Scott
  1. 1Calgary

Canada’s doctors and nurses have become strong allies as they push jointly for national standards of care for all patients in Canada, regardless of where they live. Canadians fear that national standards are being eroded as government leaders squabble over healthcare.

Because of its size the federation of Canada is administered by not one but 14 governments: one federal, 10 provincial, and three territorial. The federal government is responsible for setting national principles for healthcare through the Canada Health Act, which gives Canadians access to “universal, comprehensive coverage for medically necessary hospital and physician services” through Medicare, the nation’s publicly funded healthcare system.

But there are inequalities in care and costs, as each government decides what is “medically necessary.” Also, Medicare does not cover the cost of outpatient prescription drugs (BMJ 2012;344:e514, doi:10.1136/bmj.e514), dental care, or home care. …

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