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Medicare

“Medicare” was the term used to describe the Saskatchewan program of medical services insurance that was the model for a national health insurance program proposed by the Royal Commission on Health Services. As a headline in Le Devoir on June 20, 1964 stated: “La commission Hall recommande: régime d’assurance santé pour tous les Canadiens mais administré par les provinces.” [The Hall Commission recommends: a health insurance plan for all Canadians but administered by the provinces.] In an editorial that day, Jean-Pierre Fournier observed: “Sur plusieurs points, dans la fonctionnement et l’administration de l’assurance-santé, la commission a paru s’inspirer largement du régime de la Saskatchewan . . . Il faut espérer que le gouvernement fédéral sera suffisamment convaincu par son rapport de l’urgence d’instituter l’assurance-santé pour ne pas tarder advantage” [In several respects, what the Commission proposes as far as the operation and administration of the health insurance plan seems largely based on Saskatchewan’s program . . . Let us hope that the federal government will be sufficiently convinced by its report of the urgency of instituting health insurance to act without further delay.] (“Enfin, l’Assurance-Santé?” Le Devoir [June 20, 1964]: 4). Thirteen months later, Le Devoir reported that “Le gouvernement fédéral a proposé aux dix provinces hier un régime d’assurance-maladie polyvalent, universel, transférable, administré directement par les provinces, auxquelles il a donné l’assurance de sa participation financière par le truchement d’une contribution fiscale déterminée à l’avance” [Yesterday, the federal government proposed to the ten provinces a comprehensive, universal and transferable health insurance plan that would be administered directly by the provinces, and it assured them that it would participate financially through a predetermined fiscal contribution.] (Jean-V. Dufresne, “Ottawa propose l’assurance-maladie,” Le Devoir [July 20, 1965]: 1–2). These principles were the foundation of the Medical Care Act and were vigorously debated during the 1965 federal election. They continue to be recognized by the public as the basis of the Canadian health care system.

Photo: Public Voice for Medical Care Insurance
Public Voice for Medical Care Insurance

The first issue of a pamphlet produced by one of the grass-root groups in favour of medicare, Saskatchewan Citizens for Medical Care.
University of Saskatchewan Archives, Sophia Dixon MG 224, news clippings 1

transcription:
Editorial: Medical Insurance — A Pressing Need
Doctors Refuse to Compromise

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