Universal Health Care?

Health care in this country is free...depending on how you look at it.

Is health care in this country free?

I suppose it depends on how you look at it. All essential treatments and procedures are paid for by medicare. But for the millions of Canadians who don’t live in an urban centre, close to a major hospital, nothing is really free.

Once you factor in gas for travel, hotel rooms if necessary, and quite often lost wages for family members who have to make the trip with the patient, health care in this vastly spread out country of ours can actually be quite expensive.

Having all of these services available at rural hospitals does not make financial sense. Equipment is expensive, and trained staff to operate it is scarce. Centralized services is really the only feasible option.

However if Canada’s, or British Columbia’s, health care system promises affordable care for absolutely everyone, then does the responsibility not fall on the government to make sure that patients can afford to access this affordable health care?

Communities and non-profit organizations have done a tremendous job in helping individuals and families who are burdened with the cost of travelling for medical services. Places like Ronald McDonald House even offer lodging for parents with sick children. But should that really be their responsibility?

A young family in Golden is going through a medical crisis, and not for the first time. They are faced with travelling to Alberta to get the necessary treatments.

The community has gotten behind this family, and have organized a fundraising event for the second time. The Rotary Club of Golden has also made a contribution.

But what if they hadn’t? What if two young parents had to take time off work, travel to Alberta, and stay in hotels until their child was released from care? Who could afford that?

Health care should be equally available to all Canadians regardless of where they live. There should be government funds available for patients who can’t afford these travel expenses. Claiming them on your income tax does not help enough.

We can’t claim to be a country with free health care if not all of the population can afford to physically get to that care. The sheer size of Canada does present problems, but we are also a wealthy country who should be able  to afford taking care of all our citizens in need.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Your Columbia River Revelstoke candidates; Nicole Cherlet (NDP); Samson Boyer (Green) and Doug Clovechok (BC Liberal). The polls are closed and ballots being counted. (File photo)
BC VOTES: Clovechok preliminary winner with 52 per cent of the vote

35 of 77 polls have reported and The Canadian Press is calling Clovechok winner

NDP headquarters on election night, Oct. 24, 2020. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
ELECTION 2020: Live blog from B.C. party headquarters

BC NDP projected to win majority government – but celebrations will look different this election

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

John Horgan has been re-elected the MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca. (File-Black Press)
Horgan trounces challengers to be re-elected in his Vancouver Island riding

MLA has represented constituency of Langford-Juan de Fuca and its predecessors since 2005

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Interior Health reports 18 COVID-19 cases, highest daily count since July

The total of COVID-19 cases in the region is now at 662

(Image by Ulrike Leone from Pixabay)
QUIZ: A celebration of colour

Fall in British Columbia is a time to enjoy a spectrum of vivid colours

The Canadian border is pictured at the Peace Arch Canada/USA border crossing in Surrey, B.C. Friday, March 20, 2020. More than 4.6 million people have arrived in Canada since the border closed last March and fewer than one-quarter of them were ordered to quarantine while the rest were deemed “essential” and exempted from quarantining. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Majority of international travellers since March deemed ‘essential’, avoid quarantine

As of Oct. 20, 3.5 million travellers had been deemed essential, and another 1.1 million were considered non-essential

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Average daily deaths from virus reached 23 over the past seven days, up from six deaths six weeks ago

Voters are saying they felt safe voting in person despite the current pandemic. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
Central Okanagan voters talk about their pandemic election experience

Despite an election taking place during COVID-19, residents said they felt safe voting in person

Cole Collingwood casts his mock ballot at Vernon’s Mission Hill Elementary School ahead of the provincial election Oct. 24, 2020. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
PHOTOS: Okanagan students cast mock election ballots

At Mission Hill Elementary, the election is a chance to learn about the democratic process

Thanks to efforts by a Kelowna shelter and Elections BC, anyone who wishes to can vote in the 2020 BC Provincial Election, even if they don’t have a fixed address. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
Kelowna group ensures people experiencing homelessness can vote

Shelter supervisor says voting ‘a fundamental right’ even for those without a fixed address

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

(Big White Ski Resort photo)
Big White receives 21 cm of snow in 24 hours

Resort’s snow base 41 cm deep, one month until opening day

Most Read