Apr 15

The Canada Health Act

The ink was no sooner dry on the Canada Health Act (CHA) in 1984, and we were talking about its shortcomings and inadequacies. Is the Canada Health Act hopelessly flawed?

You will remember that Monique Bégin was the Federal Minister of Health and Welfare when the Act was developed. I recently came across a 2002 paper given by honorable Ms. Bégin that outlined the history of the tabling of the CHA,  as well as her recommendations for reopening and improving upon the Act. [It’s really worth a read, only 8 pages and very informative! For example: you probably know that the CHA was intended to give some teeth to the enforcement of its 5 core principles (you all remember what those are, right?), but did you know it hasn’t been substantively enforced by the Feds since 1987?)  Anyhow, I digress…

Ms. Begin began her analysis this way:

“What is modern health care and what we are trying to achieve in terms of public policies? Assessing what we have learned about what makes us healthy; observing the geometric progression of medical knowledge; noting the new forces driving changes in both diagnostics and treatments, as well as the impact of information technologies on everything; taking into account socio-economic and demographic changed realities, I would conclude that a legislation based solely on hospitals and doctors, as is the CHA, is not appropriate at all, and is even detrimental to good health policy.” (p. 3)

So…what do you think? Do you think the Act should be reopened? Are there risks to doing that? Don’t just read and run… please share your thoughts!

Image from: http://associatedcontent.com

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