Medicare is Part of Us

Roy Romanow | The Globe and Mail | July 2, 2012

July 1, the birthdate of our great nation, is also the birthdate of Canada’s emblematic health-care system. And this weekend we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the introduction of medicare in Saskatchewan. Now often referred to as unsustainable, this milestone provides an opportunity to reflect on the hardfought accomplishments of the past, to re-evaluate today’s system and to consider the growing debate about its future.

Until 50 years ago, Canada’s health-care system was based on the private, for-profit model. Patients individually paid for the services of medical professionals and hospitals. Often, those who could not afford health care did not receive it, and even some who could did so by deferring treatment, hoping to save their family budget. Since then we have built a national system, lauded around the world, that allows us all access to high-quality care.