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Canada’s Health Care System: One-Tier versus Two-Tier

The concept of whether Canada has a one-tier or a two-tier health care system is a difficult question to answer primarily because there are no clear definitions classifying their distinction. A one-tier system is one that offers its citizens public access to health care. Ideally, the underlying presumptions are that people are able to get free, and equal access to health care. On the other hand, a two-tier health care system offers its citizens an option of public or private health care. The Canada Health Act publicizes that Canada has a one-tier system. However, many Canadians are infuriated that they are not given an option in regards to their health care. Many Canadians believe that it truly has a two-tier health care system because people are not given an equal opportunity for free health care. Countries around the world that have used a two-tier system have proven to be successful, and in time, Canada will in all probability become a two-tier system.

A one-tier health system is theoretically recognized as a organization where all medical services are covered publicly. Although it is a controversial topic, Canada publicly states that it has a one-tier health care system.

Canada’s health care system insures that its citizens receive necessary procedures that can only be achieved through the public sector. Through the Canada Health Act and provincial legislation, the private sector prevents the sponsorship of medical services such as hip or knee replacements, surgeries, or magnetic resonance imaging. Many Canadians support the one-tier system because they believe that every citizen within the country is receiving an equal opportunity of health care. Supporters believe that a private sector discriminates against lower-income individuals, offering a lower quality of care. Many agree that a centralized public system is more efficient than a system that permits providers and funders. Although many support the one-tier system, there are opposing views.

A number of Canadians disagree with the one-tier system in Canada because it is a clear contradiction of ones democratic rights. The provincial monopoly over health care does not allow for Canadian doctors to provide any type of private service. Many Canadians are angered that they are not given a choice. For example, in 1997, George Zeliotis, a 67-year-old man had to wait approximately a year for hip surgery. He complained that the pain was unendurable, and had he been given the opportunity he would have paid for private surgery. The belief that private spending in a public service would deprive citizens of Canada certain resources and proper health care is a myth. Although Canada is believed to have a one-tier health care system, many Canadian citizens believe otherwise.

A two-tier health system is recognized as providing people with both a public and private health care. Many Canadians believe that Canada has a two-tier health care system. The Canada Health Act states that Canada is a one-tier system because all citizen receive equal coverage of medical services yet people in the military, RCMP, one who is on workers compensation, if a company one works for has their own paid physicians, if one is a member of the medical profession, or if one is determined enough, one can receive more rapid and pleasing health care compared to someone who waits for their free equal coverage. Services such as ambulances, supplemental health coverage, dental care and nursing home services are not covered publicly. Although Canada claims that it uses a public system, people with money, connections, education, and intelligence are able to receive assistance before those who do not.

Countries around the world have proven that private health care can work. For instance, Singapore, relies on a private health care system. Life expectancies are high, while the cost of health care and mortality rates are low. Britain also has a private health care system along with its National Health Service. In fact, every industrialized country, for the exception of Canada, allows for the sale of private insurance for medical services. International rankings demonstrate that private access to health care corresponds with a high level of patient satisfaction.

Although the Canada Health Act presumes that it has a one-tier system, evidence supports that Canada is increasingly proceeding towards a two-tier health care system. The rules and regulations that are underlying a one-tier health system are vague, and people in Canada are able to get away with better health care than others. The one-tier system fails to fully support its citizens with free health care when it comes to drugs, and a number of services. Many privileged, educated, and affluent individuals are already able to receive faster and more efficient services than those without. This does not reflect equality amongst all citizens of Canada. I believe that Canada, despite what the government advocates, has a two-tier health care system. In time, it will be better understood, and Canadians will increasingly see the advantages of moving towards the choice of having both a public and private health care system.

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