The Canadian Health Act of 1984 is the law that frameworks healthcare in that country. As individuals enroll in the program they are issued a health card which enables them to receive health care services which the government deems “essential”. As I outlined in yesterday’s post, there are a multitude of services which are not covered and thus the individual must pay for themselves (either out-of-pocket or through insurance). It is unlawful for private insurance to duplicate public healthcare system benefits. Private insurance is only allowed to address coverage gaps, similar to supplemental insurance in the United States (yes, the AFLAC duck).
I think one of the biggest misnomers about Canadian healthcare is that it is “free”. It definitely is NOT free. Canadians pay heavily for healthcare through the tax system. In 2013, the average Canadian family paid $11,320 in taxes just for the public healthcare insurance. Furthermore, the cost of public healthcare (before inflation) has increased 53% just in the past 10 years and is now running a deficit of $540 billion.