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History: 1958-1968 PUBLIC OR PRIVATE? VOLUNTARY OR COMPULSORY? : HOSPITAL CARE FOR CANADIANS, 19481958 CONFLICT AND COMPROMISE: CREATING THE MEDICAL CARE AC, 1958–1968 FROM COST CONTROL TO HEALTH PROMOTION: IMPLEMENTING MEDICARE, 19681978



Public or Private Coverage? Voluntary or Universal Coverage?

The irony in this approach was that, in 1958, the province’s 922 doctors had average net earnings of $12,000, while 58 per cent of Saskatchewan’s breadwinners supported their families on less than $2,500 a year. Since the annual cost of medical care insurance from private carriers was $75–$80 for most families, the poor could not participate, and many citizens had to make difficult choices about where to allocate their limited funds. Government staff had already concluded that it would be too costly and administratively cumbersome to provide subsidies to the indigent and the working poor. Then, in October 1961, the Saskatchewan Medical Care Insurance Act was introduced in the legislature. It created a provincially funded, universal, prepaid insurance system that would eliminate anxiety about medical services insurance costs for Saskatchewan’s citizens. The doctors were outraged that they had not been consulted about the legislation and they vowed to reject government control of their practices. This set the stage for confrontation.

Photo:  “All we want you to do is give it a fair and honest trial!”
“All we want you to do is give it a fair and honest trial!”

Ed Sebestyen took a pro-doctor position in his 1962 cartoons. The medical profession had refused invitations from Tommy Douglas and his successor, W. S. Lloyd, to participate in consultations about the Saskatchewan Medical Care Insurance Act that was about to be passed.
Saskatchewan Archives Board, F379-1293-A



Back to Timeline 1958 - 1968
    Date Created: March 31, 2010 | Last Updated: April 21, 2010