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History: 1948-1958 NATIONAL SYSTEM, NATIONAL FAILURE? : WAR, RECONSTRUCTION AND HEALTH SECURITY FOR CANADIANS, 1939–1948 PUBLIC OR PRIVATE? VOLUNTARY OR COMPULSORY? : HOSPITAL CARE FOR CANADIANS, 19481958 CONFLICT AND COMPROMISE: CREATING THE MEDICAL CARE AC, 1958–1968



British Columbia: From Chaos to Administrative Expertise

In British Columbia, the Liberal–Conservative coalition government introduced a hospital insurance plan in 1948. Initially using individual and group registration through either “pay direct” premiums or employer-based deductions, the British Columbia Hospital Insurance Service plan soon ran into difficulties. One plan member changed jobs 12 times within a single year and many other resource workers moved frequently, seeking seasonal employment. Such changes caused administrative difficulties that affected individuals and hospitals: some people who had not paid their premiums received care, while others who had paid up were charged for hospital treatment. And many hospitals found themselves facing a deficit when they were not reimbursed by the British Columbia Hospital Insurance Service plan for care they had provided. In response to these problems, the British Columbia Hospital Insurance Inquiry Board was set up and, following its report in 1951, the plan was amended in 1952 and co-insurance charges were introduced to help pay for hospital deficits.

Photo: “It’s that persistent insurance man again, with a NEW sales gimmick this time ...”
“It’s that persistent insurance man again, with a NEW sales gimmick this time ...”

The reaction of the average citizen when paying premiums to the British Columbia Hospital Insurance Service, as interpreted by cartoonist Len Norris in 1953
Copy provided with the permission of Simon Fraser University Library, Special Collections

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    Date Created: March 31, 2010 | Last Updated: April 21, 2010