Coventry Health Care is a diversified nationally managed health care company based in Bethesda, Maryland, dedicated to delivering high-quality health care solutions at an affordable price. Provincial drug plans cover only limited populations, such as seniors or social assistance recipients, or limited costs (such as costs exceeding catastrophic” deductibles). Financial barriers were addressed in medicare’s first stage – a publicly funded health insurance system designed to cover costs for doctors and hospitals. And CMA members came within an eyelash of voting for health care to be at least in part patient-funded.
The second stage that Tommy Douglas and medicare’s other founders envisioned was intended to address the other barriers standing in the way of improved health and well-being – the root causes of poor health and out-of-date delivery of care. Physicians must become stronger advocates for health equity, says incoming CMA President Dr. Anna Reid, an emergency room physician in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories.
But the effort of one faction within the CMA to shift our health-care system toward a profit-based model didn’t do much to sway public opinion or reshape the delivery of health care. A new report by the Canadian Medical Association provides a timely reminder that money buys better health, even in a country with a universal public healthcare system. Those can be nice if you want a little more control over what you spend on health care.
A poll commissioned by the CMA found a large and increasing gap between the health status of Canadians in lower income groups (household income less than $30,000) and their wealthier counterparts (household income over $60,000). Saskatchewan led the way for medicare in Canada when it passed the Saskatchewan Medical Care Insurance Act and after a 3 week doctor’s strike became effective on July 23, 1962.
A large body of research has shown that both globally and in Canada, income (and socioeconomic status more broadly) is closely related to virtually all health outcomes that one can think of, from life expectancy to mental health. Health experts have coined the term social determinants of health” to draw attention to the factors outside the healthcare system that affect health, and income is identified as one of the key social determinants of health. This site celebrates that historic battle that was fought in Saskatchewan to implement universal health care for all.