Canadians have an enormous attachment, almost equivalent to national self-definition, in our universal health care system. Life expectancy in Canada has risen since 1950 a full decade from 69 to 79. Girls born today can expect to live to 83; boys, 79, partly thanks to our health system. Its genesis was Swift Current, Saskatchewan, in 1947, when residents created the first public health care insurance program on the continent. Health care in the town was thereafter a public service, not something purchased in the market.
A year later, Premier Tommy Douglas of what is today the New Democratic Party extended the Swift Current model to the entire province. A decade later, Liberal Prime Minister Louis St. Laurent introduced North America’s first national hospital insurance plan; his successor, Progressive Conservative John Diefenbaker, applied a new law to all health services in hospitals across the country.
The cost savings of Canada’s single-insurer vs. the American multiple insurer Read More »from Health care: Canada’s system can no longer be considered a point of pride