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February 1992

The Canadian Health Care System: The Shape of Things to Come?

Author Affiliations

Montreal, Quebec

Arch Ophthalmol. 1992;110(2):167-168. doi:10.1001/archopht.1992.01080140017002

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To the Editor.  —The Canadian Health Care System was first introduced in the Province of Saskatchewan in the 1950s. The initial plan was limited to free (tax-supported) hospital care. This was followed by universal medical coverage, including physicians' services. A strike in 1957 by provincial physicians to protest their involuntary inclusion into the plan was totally ineffective when physicians from other provinces as well as the United States and England came to Saskatchewan to fill in for striking physicians.The Canadian government later passed the Health Care Act, which obliged every province to initiate a similar universal health care system. Those provinces that refused were penalized, with the federal government holding back on tax rebates owed to the nonobliging provinces. This loss of revenue soon resulted in all of the provinces (in spite of their fear of the unknown costs) falling into line. Quebec was the last province to initiate

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