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October 1999

Canadian Ophthalmology

Arch Ophthalmol. 1999;117(10):1409-1410. doi:10.1001/archopht.117.10.1409

MEDICARE WAS introduced in Canada in 1968. Health care is a provincial responsibility supported, in part, by federal transfer payments. The Canada Health Act, enacted in 1984, is the foundation on which the Canadian medical system is built. To ensure that all residents of Canada have access to necessary health care, the Canada Health Act established requirements that the provinces and territories must meet to qualify for their share of federal transfers for health care services. The Canada Health Act criteria are: (1) Universality, which requires that all residents of the province be entitled to public health insurance coverage. (2) Accessibility, which requires reasonable access unimpeded by financial or other barriers to medically necessary hospital and physician services for residents and reasonable compensation for both physicians and hospitals. (3) Comprehensiveness, which requires that all medically necessary services provided by hospitals and physicians be insured. (4) Portability, which requires that coverage be maintained when a resident moves or travels within Canada or travels outside the country (coverage outside Canada is restricted to the coverage the resident has in his/her own province). (5) Public Administration, which requires that the administration of the insurance plan of a province be carried out on a nonprofit basis by a public authority.1