Universal Health Care In Canada

The system of universal health care in Canada is founded on public trust and accountability. The labor union provides a solid foundation for promoting public accountability in the Canadian health care system by protecting jobs so that workers can always work in the interest of the public even when that conflicts with their employer’s interest.

There are three stakeholders in the universal health care system in Canada. In the interest of the Canadian public all three groups must work together to deliver health care services.

These three groups are:

1. The government – the Canadian health care system is funded federally but administered by the each of the thirteen provinces and territories. All funds flow from the federal government, to the provincial government,and then to the employer. All provincial and territorial governments must maintain accountability to the federal government for the way that funds are dispersed and annual reports are necessary to ensure compliance with the Canada Health act.
2. The employer -Regional health boards administer local health care services. They employ people to deliver services to clients and customers who are the members of the community they serve. In smaller provinces and territories the provincial or territorial government may be the employer.
3. The workers – These are the people who provide patient care and services as well as the workers who support those services such as the cleaning staff, food services workers, carpenters, electronic data specialists and others.

Each of the stakeholder groups also has a self interest which could be described as:

1. The government – self interest is often directed only toward fiscal accountability and balancing the budget. Sometimes this means increasing taxes or even decreasing services if funds are limited. In most provinces in Canada governments have passed labor laws that put restrictions on a labor union strike in health care in order to protect the public they serve.
2. The employer – the employer’s self interest is to maintain the flow of funds so that services to its customers can be maintained. The employer also has a self interest in maintaining the skills and education of its workforce so it can continue to provide services and meet present and future challenges.
3. The workers – people work in their own self interest. They have families to feed and mortgages to pay. People do not want to work for nothing. They want to feel valued and know that they are making a contribution to their organization and their own community.

All three of these stakeholder groups work in their own interest, but in order to provide health care in Canada they must all work together in the public interest. Therefore there has to be a strong public accountability framework that supports the Canadian health care system, because self interest and public interest are not always compatible.

It is only when the parties work together in the public interest that health care can be delivered in the way that the Canada Health Act requires.

Labor Union in Universal Health Care in Canada

The labor union provides a necessary foundation for the public accountability required within the Canadian health care system and this becomes especially important when the interests of the stakeholder parties are in conflict.

It is quite reasonable for an employer to direct an employee in their work and this is accepted within the labor union movement in Canada. However, it is not accepted that an employer can direct an employee to perform their work below an acceptable standard. In other words an employer cannot direct an employee to be a bad employee and do poor quality work.

Employers in the public sector in Canada know that labor unions must work to protect the social and economic welfare of members and therefore, they are aware that the public interest can only be served when employees and employers work together in a common interest. In universal health care in Canada that common interest is the public interest.

With labor unions protecting jobs, workers know they can work in the public interest and still fulfill their own self interests because they have confidence that there are mechanisms in place to resolve conflict and that employers cannot arbitrarily change the nature of their working conditions.

It is a system that works well most of the time. And the Canadian public remain confident that the system works in their interest most of the time as well.

From time to time however, when conflicts arise, labor laws such as essential services legislation are in place to regulate strike action. and ensure the Canadian public that health care services will continue while the parties in conflict work towards a resolution.

Health Care Schooling Opportunities

Health and medical professionals conduct job duties ranging from administrative work to medical care. Health care schools provide students with numerous areas of study that lead to satisfying careers. Students can seek schooling opportunities in several concentration areas that provide them with the coursework needed to enter the industry.

Students that have a desire to work in health care have multiple opportunities available to them. The interests of students will primarily determine what programs to work through. For example, students that want to enter health education will complete different training programs then students that want to enter cardiovascular technology. Educational training can be completed at all levels, but some may require students to hold graduate degrees to qualify for careers. Some areas may only require undergraduate degrees to step into careers. Students need to research the field to know what the requirements are for their area of interest.

Possible training options include:

*Health Information Technician

Professionals maintain all patient records for medical facilities. This highly important role ensures that everything is accurate and up to date. Schooling teaches students the proper and legal ways to collect, manage, and examine data. Students learn to handle medical history of patients and business billing. The goal is to decrease unneeded paperwork and help run the information side of health care smoothly. Common courses in this field may include:

  • Health Information Statistics
  • ICD Coding

Students will need to obtain at least an associate’s degree to enter careers as professionals.

*Cardiovascular Technology

The work done in this area of the field has students learning how to diagnose and treat cardiovascular diseases. The different types of diseases are explored to give students a well-rounded knowledge of what affects patients and how to properly treat them. Several hours inside clinical and laboratory courses prepare students to understand diagnostic testing and how to assist with treatment practices. Core courses could include:

  • Ultrasound Technology
  • Electrocardiography

Students can become vascular technologists, echocardiographers, and more after completing a program.

*Health Services

Students interested in the operational side of health care should consider an education in health services. Through programs at every level students can study policies and apply them to organizational management. Administration degrees are highly common giving students a background in public health. Depending on the degree level students will either study to become entry-level managers or administrators. Through program areas relating to finance, human resources management, and more students are qualified for numerous careers inside the industry. Students will complete courses that include:

  • Health Finance
  • Aging and Health

Other areas of study can have students completing programs in preventive medicine, public health, and health education.

Health Insurance Facts

Health Insurance Facts and Figures

It’s amazing to read about the fact companies pay their top CEOs millions of dollars per year but that more than 40 million Americans – and more than 8 million children – can’t afford health insurance and don’t get it through their small business employer.

The Affordable Care Act passed in 2010 aims to change this. Some of the new changes include that EVERYONE must have health insurance by 2014 or face penalties from the IRS. Small businesses will also receive large tax breaks and government stipends to help get their employees insured.

Here are some more interesting facts about health insurance:

Health care costs typically covered by insurance include doctor visits, hospital visits, surgery, advanced procedures, tests, home care, routine and advanced treatments and other services. Typically, the people who qualify for Medicare are those who are 65 years or older, as well as younger people with disabilities and people with permanent kidney failure. Medicaid is for people who are receiving federal government aid. It typically covers hospitalization, doctor’s visits and other types of services. Prescription drugs, chronic illnesses, uninsured patients, and longer life expectancy are adding to the rising cost of health care. Supplemental insurance covers treatments and services that regular health insurance doesn’t.

Worker’s compensation covers health care costs for illnesses and injuries that occurred because of a person’s employment.

Types of Plans:

-Fee-for-Service: Fee-for-service plans allow you to choose the hospital and doctor you want, but you have to pay a monthly premium fee.

-Health Maintenance Organizations: HMOs are prepaid health plans that require you to pay a co-payment when you visit a doctor. The plans concentrate on preventative care to keep costs down (the costs involved in treating someone with advanced illnesses are much higher).

-Health Savings Accounts: These savings accounts help pay down high deductibles. They often carry over from year to year.

-Point of Service Plans: These plans allow you to see doctors who aren’t inside your plan.

-Preferred Provider Organizations: Like HMOs, there is a small co-payment for visiting doctors inside your plan. Unlike HMOs, you can see doctors who are outside your plan, but you’ll have to pay more of the bill yourself.

-Self-Directed Health Plans: This is a PPO plan combined with a quarterly allowance that you can use for preventative health care. Like a health savings account, the money rolls over to the next year if you don’t use it.

Health insurance figures:

Millions of Americans are uninsured or under insured because of the soaring costs of health care. The U.S. paid almost $2.5 trillion in health care costs in 2008, and the average health care cost per American is $7,400 per year. Uninsured patients who also don’t pay their medical bills are driving up the cost of health care. Hospitals cover approximately $30 billion every year in unpaid medical bills. There are more than 40 million Americans who live without health insurance every year, and more than 8 million of them are children. Employers pay a premium of about $12,500 per year for insurance for a family of four. Economists predict that health care costs will rise to more than $3 trillion per year during the next decade.

Saving Health Care

I believe the year 2011 will be pivotal in the battle for an affordable and workable Health Care system that will serve the United States. If we will face the cold hard facts and develop a clear understanding of what a model system looks like, we can enjoy better individual health and economic prosperity beyond anyone’s belief system to comprehend. This first article of the New Year will lay out what a model system looks like and subsequent articles will give more details of how we can move toward a system that really works.

With an ill-conceived “Obamacare” system taking effect this year, with no benefits for three years, the time has come to change my approach from “fixing” the system to “saving” the system. It is not my style to “scare” people into action, but the fact remains, if we do not stop this “Obamanation” in total, we are destined to become a third rate country with economic problems unlike anything our citizens have ever faced. Every single citizen needs to get involved now and stay involved for years to come because there will always be those who seek power to control our lives. Look around and see the symptoms. Already we have debt our grandchildren will be paying for, unemployment at never before seen levels and forecast to continue for years, freedoms neutralized or taken from us, and what do our leaders tell us? With obvious lies they tell us we are on the right track, and it will take years to make things better (better for who?). We need to take action NOW because the longer we allow these conditions to continue, the more devastating they will be and the longer it will take to fix them.

So, let’s start with a clear understanding of what a workable system looks like. First, a free enterprise health care system that constantly adjusts to market conditions will best serve everyone. In other words, get politicians and government out of the business. Never in our history has any politician/government run program of any kind ever been successful, never!

Step One to better health: Un-elect politicians who claim they will provide a health care program for you.

Second, each individual needs to understand they have an individual responsibility to take better care of their health. Eating properly and exercising routinely will do more to improve one’s health and reduce future health problems than any “co-pay health plan”.

Step Two to better health: Purchase only “catastrophic health care plans”. Everyone needs to realize that “co-pay plans” are not really what they seem. These plans are responsible for grossly increasing costs and are nothing more than financial plans to pre-pay for medical care one may or may not need as determined by an insurance company employee. It is my opinion that eliminating these plans would reduce costs by as much as 70% almost overnight.

Third, take the profit for lawyers out of the industry. Lawyers do absolutely nothing to improve health care for anyone. Lawyers are nothing more than “vultures” hovering around hospitals looking for opportunities to sue someone.

Step Three to better health: Individually we must learn how to vote and elect only politicians who will support the concept of taking all of the profit for lawyers out of the industry.

Fourth, everyone must assume personal responsibility for their own health. Every individual has health concerns that are specific for them and individually should be responsible for learning to deal with them. To assume one can get healthy by going to a doctor, or a hospital, or by taking drugs (of any kind), or being covered by health insurance, is living in a fantasy world, it is not going to happen. Each of us owns something that will work to improve one’s health, and that is our own body. It was marvelously created to serve each of us and the better we take care of it, the better the results.

Step Four to better health: Be responsible for your own health and learn as much as you can about the relationship of good health and your body.