January 22nd, 2021

Is Canada’s healthcare system truly universal?

By Letter to the Editor on June 18, 2020.

Especially during the pandemic crisis, I’ve heard too many platitudinous praises of Canada’s supposed universality of healthcare.

I, one who champions truly comprehensive health-services coverage, had tried accessing, for example, essential therapy coverage in our public system; within, however, there were/are important health treatments that are either universally non-existent or, more likely, universally inaccessible, except to those with relatively high incomes and/or generous employer health insurance coverage.

Furthermore, Canada is the only universal-health-coverage country (theoretically, anyway) that doesn’t also cover medication.

The bitter irony is, many low-income outpatients cannot afford to fill their prescriptions and resultantly end up back in the hospital system, thus burdening the system far more than if the outpatients’ generic-brand medication was also covered. This lesson was learned and implemented by enlightened European nations with genuinely universal all-inclusive health care systems that also cover necessary medication.

Why Canada has, to date, steadfastly refused to similarly do so, I know not.

But I do know that the only two health professions’ appointments for which I’m fully covered by the public health plan are the readily pharmaceutical-prescribing psychiatry and general practitioner health professions. Such non-Big-Pharma-benefiting health specialists as dentists, counsellors, therapists and naturopaths (etcetera) are not covered.

Frank Sterle Jr.

White Rock, B.C.

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