The following is excerpted from Canadian Medicare: We Need It and We Can Keep It by Stephen Duckett and Adrian Peetoom.
Medicare is more than laws and regulations. As the Romanow report (2002) pointed out, from the beginning medicare has been an expression of our care for one another. As some other writers have said, it is as binding an element of Canadian life today as the railroads that connected East and West in the nineteenth century. Our medicare is a commitment Canadians made to one another more than half a century ago. In times of need brought on by health problems, we will continue to help each other financially. Medicare is ours. It is not the beneficence of governments, be they federal or provincial. Nor is it the goodwill of health care corporations. However much appreciated, it is not even the kindness of front-line health care professionals: physicians, nurses, equipment technicians, medical administrators, and hospital orderlies. All those simply represent the will of the people fed by a spirit of generosity and care for one another.
Canadians sometimes forget this fact, and who can blame them? In a country as large as ours, with a population steadily growing and now well over 33 million, we need complex organization to give expression to our generosity. Our generosity gets to be mediated, almost overshadowed, by organizations. Many hospitals and drug companies are involved, and these institutions often obey their own primary rule: “got to be looking good.” Governments want to appear to be the source of citizen wellness, be it economic, social, or medical. Drug companies stress the presumed benefits of their chemicals and suppress their often highly questionable marketing strategies. Physicians don’t always possess superb bedside manners, and some believe they hold the key to unlocking the secrets of the human body and must be regarded with a special type of awe. However, the work of all of these contributors to the health care system, even the kindest of nurses, only happens because of the generosity of the more than 33 million neighbours who share our country, those we know and those we don’t know: our tax dollars pay for all of the costs of the Canadian health care system. This generosity sets the context for our medicare and must be kept in mind in any discussion about how to change the system.
Click below to view news stories on Canadian medicare across the country.
View Canadian Medicare in a larger map
To learn more about Canadian Medicare, or to order online, click here.
For media inquiries, contact MQUP publicist Jacqui Davis.