Universal Health Care: What the United States Can Learn from the Canadian Experience

Pat Armstrong, Author, Hugh Armstrong, Joint Author, Claudia Fegan, Preface by
Pat Armstrong, Author, Hugh Armstrong, Joint Author, Claudia Fegan, Preface by New Press $24 (176p) ISBN 978-1-56584-410-0
Reviewed on: 06/01/1998
Release date: 06/01/1998
This study will give pause to Americans who are hostile toward government-funded national health care, for readers are shown that such a program succeeds in Canada. The system is committed to five principles enacted in the Canada Health Act of 1984: the program is universal, portable, accessible, comprehensive and publicly administered. The authors (Pat Armstrong is director of the School of Canadian Studies at Carlton Univ. in Ottawa, Canada; Hugh Armstrong teaches social work at the same school; Fegan is a medical instructor at the Univ. of Illinois) have done prodigious research, and although they are boring writers, their book could serve as a position paper for U.S. advocates of universal government-funded medical care. The study tracks the genesis of Canada's system going back to 1947, then explains funding (tax revenues), administration (a single payer, the government) and one-tier delivery (rich and poor use the same hospitals and doctors). Many comparison statistics are included vis-a-vis the U.S. and Canada: Canada has one practicing physician per every 448 people, the U.S. ratio is 1 to 432; Canada has one nursing home bed for every 113 persons, the U.S. one for every 523; life expectancy for Canadian women is 81.3 years, for U.S. women 79.2 years; etc. In chapters discussing ""What the Problems Are"" and ""What the Problems are Not,"" the authors shore up their findings in a study that gives readers much to ponder. (June)
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