Canadian Medicare of the universal healthcare has several advantages and some disadvantages. Ideally, every country in the world should have universal healthcare to assure basic and certain advanced medical assistance to every citizen and most countries in the world do have such programs. But very few of such universal programs or welfare schemes are perfect. The Medicare or healthcare system in United States is not perfect. The one in the United Kingdom has its fair share of shortcomings and so does Canadian Medicare. There are certain provisions in such policies that are contentious and hotly debated but largely such programs do have a positive bearing.
The universal healthcare system in Canada is free in a way but it is eventually the taxpayers’ money and there are millions who choose to pay monthly or yearly premiums for better health insurance. The coverage of universal healthcare systems across the world has been put to question, barring very few nations. Let us look at the pros and cons of Canadian Medicare.
List of Pros of Canadian Medicare
1. Available For Everyone
The first attribute of Canadian Medicare that deserves mention is the fact that the policy is actually implemented universally. It doesn’t matter what kind of financial status a citizen has, employment status, health or age of the citizen. Canadian Medicare is available for one and all. This universal accessibility is a good enough reason to have such a program. No matter how many flaws such a policy or legislation may have, it will always be popular because it is universal.
2. Educational Programs
While the healthcare system is promoted aggressively by the federal and provincial governments in the country, there are educational programs as well which are run from time to time. The attempt of such educational campaigns is to make people more aware, so injuries can be averted, health ailments can be proactively looked into so severity is contained and so people know what they are supposed to do at specific junctures depending on their health condition. Such programs are funded by the governments and always go a long way in educating people of all age and background.
These types of programs are essential for any country as they can help people live with healthy habits and would make people aware of the wrong choices. Without a universal healthcare system, such programs may not have been funded or been considered to be relevant. While people do become more aware of health concerns and can endorse the best lifestyle practices, the awareness also helps in reducing the burden on the universal healthcare system, which is always a desired outcome.
3. Special Care For Special Needs
Canadian Medicare takes into account the needs of kids, disabled citizens and the elderly. Senior citizens or veterans need special attention and so do the disabled or kids. There are people with quaint disabilities and they deserve special attention and care as well. The universal healthcare system does what is possible in such cases. There is also a special provision for war veterans who get whatever type of care they need under this very healthcare system.
List of Cons of Canadian Medicare
1. Long Waiting Periods
Canada has one of the best healthcare systems in the world and there isn’t a dearth of doctors, medical facilities, practitioners or resources. However, there can never be a scenario when there would be more infrastructure, resources and doctors than patients and their needs. Owing to the universal accessibility of the healthcare system, there are always more people needing care and attention than people attending to the same. Hence, there are wait times.
Emergency situations are attended to with immediacy, which could be severe injuries needing emergency care or emergency surgeries. The need to attend to such emergencies makes people with non-emergency health conditions wait for a really long time. It is quite possible that some people will end up waiting for months to get the necessary treatment or medical attention. Whenever there are some emergency cases, they get priority and that naturally shifts other cases. This delay is unavoidable at this stage and some less fortunate people may keep having their cases delayed or postponed due to more pressing matters.
This can be frustrating and can actually make a non-emergency situation life threatening due to delay and negligence. There is room for improvement and the policymakers need to look at the ways to do away with such long waiting periods. The management of wait times is also not very efficient.
2. The Fees Are Often Unrealistic
Healthcare providers or practitioners are mandated by law to charge a certain fee or amount of money for specific treatments and medical interventions. These fees are not very realistic. The healthcare providers have to run a business, they have loans which had been acquired to set up the infrastructure and the facility, doctors have student loans or personal loans and the businesses need to stay afloat while the practitioners need to attend to the cost of living. Unless the fees are practical and they ensure that the providers can keep operating and practitioners can have a worthwhile lifestyle, the Canadian Medicare is remaining flawed.
Welfare schemes around the world are often unfair. Doles to a certain section or to most people should not be at the cost of some other citizens’ comfort or basic needs. Most welfare schemes burden the average taxpayer and then the healthcare sector is asked to bear the brunt of the financial fallout with low fees. This is unviable in the long run. This is also a reason why some providers of universal healthcare don’t offer the finest service.
3. Accessibility In Rural Areas
Rural areas don’t have the best healthcare centers or providers. The funding of Canadian Medicare is done based on the location and the demographics. More populated towns and cities get adequate funding but sparsely populated regions or areas that don’t get priority get much less funds. Scarcity of funds confines the scope of growth and development. This compels people living in rural areas to travel to cities for adequate healthcare. Several complicated health conditions cannot be attended to by rural healthcare providers. The pace at which the rural healthcare scenario is changing is not encouraging either. The scene may remain the way it is for years.
4. Quality Of Care
While rural healthcare providers are short on funds and they don’t have the adequate resources to attend to all healthcare needs, the quality of care provided is also not sufficient or desirable. Urban healthcare centers are often in the eyes of scrutiny and that compels them to deliver the best. That is not the case with rural healthcare providers or facilities. That prevents the rural populace from getting their fair share of care.
With all its pros and cons, Canadian Medicare is necessary. It works for millions of people and has enough scope of improvement. Whether or not the flaws would be fixed and if the universal healthcare system would get better in the future is something that only time will tell. Also, those who invest in health insurance and have more coverage than what Medicare provides for don’t really rely on the universal healthcare system so taking them into account is not a pragmatic approach for a government but they cannot be discarded either. Such a paradox makes universal welfare schemes more difficult to conceive and manage.