Food Service & Nutrition - Spring 2017 - 12
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What is the
By Heather Truber, NM
Canada is a federalist country where
power is distributed between various
levels of government. The divisions of
power were set out under the British
North America Act 1867, which was
renamed to the Constitution Act, 1867.
The document has served as the basis on
which the division of powers between
the provinces and federal government
have been analyzed. The Act does outline
that the provinces would have exclusive
power over establishment, maintenance
and management of hospitals, asylums,
charities, and institutions in the province. The Act does not identify health
care nor is there any mention of continuum of care.
While the Constitution Act, 1867 sets
out the guiding division of powers, The
Canada Health Act is the current legislative description of Canada's national
health financing system, Medicare.
Since the inception of health insurance
in the 1950s in Saskatchewan, there
have been several pieces of legislation (including Hospital Insurance and
Diagnostic Services Act, 1957 and Medical
Care Act, 1966) that set the framework
that continues today.
The Canada Health Act specifies five
criteria and/or conditions that provinces
must comply with to receive funding
through federal transfers. They are comprehensiveness, universality, portability,
accessibility and public administration.
The province must ensure that all
insured health services are provided.
This is challenging as not all services
have ever been or will be insured. It
is unreasonable to expect that all services would be insured for all residents
of a province. The challenge with this
criterion for provinces is to determine
which the insured services are. Certain
services may or may not be covered or
listed as insured in a particular province.
Outpatient prescription drugs are not
typically covered however some provinces have drug cost programs for certain
populations. In most provinces seniors
receive some enhanced service provision.
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