Making Medicare:  The History of Health Care in Canada, 1914-2007 Back to Timeline Back to Timeline
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



The Provinces and the Public React

This proposal provoked great anxiety and irritation in provincial capitals and among providers of existing private for-profit and non-profit medical and hospital services insurance plans. The public showed great interest, especially when the Ontario government introduced legislation to establish the Hospital Services Commission on March 5, 1956. Six days of public hearings enabled commercial insurance companies, the Ontario Medical Association, the hospital associations and the public to express their views. Not surprisingly, the insurers condemned public administration as a waste of taxpayers’ money and argued that, if people were not willing to insure themselves voluntarily, the government did not have the right to compel them to do so. This stance was contradicted by increasing public support for universal social security. The Canadian Chamber of Commerce raised the spectre of “socialized medicine” and the Ontario Medical Association urged the government to ensure that fee-for-service payment be the sole source of remuneration for radiologists and other medical experts. Donald MacDonald, leader of the Ontario CCF, and other supporters of publicly funded hospital insurance questioned the opponents rigorously, and the admission that the insurance companies and providers of other prepayment plans expected the government to pay high premiums for the bad “risks” ultimately backfired, as Ontarians concluded that their interests would be best served by provincial administration of a universal program. Once the legislation passed, attention turned to the federal level.

< Previous | Next >


Back to Timeline 1948 - 1958
    Date Created: March 31, 2010 | Last Updated: April 21, 2010