Heightened public awareness of the health care issues prompted the Ontario Coalition of Senior Citizens’ Organizations to create a project designed to educate younger Canadians about life without government-funded health care. Published in 1995, Life Before Medicare: Canadian Experiences provided first-hand stories about the human costs of medical and hospital treatment for the uninsured. As Maureen Cassidy of Ottawa commented:
I hope the Canadian social conscience stays alive and well, and with it, our commitment to Medicare.
Apart from the social responsibility angle to Medicare there is also the financial. It is much cheaper to collect than private insurance. The administrative costs of the government scheme are a fraction of those of private schemes. We get more from our dollar to pay the doctor.
I hope that we try to improve our Medicare scheme in Canada. Please, let’s not abandon it or eat away at it with user fees. (Helen Heeney, comp., Life Before Medicare: Canadian Experiences [Toronto: Ontario Coalition of Senior Citizens’ Organizations, 1995], p. 104)
This concern was echoed by other writers from across the country, but many Ontarians saw their hopes for preserving medicare in its traditional form dashed when Mike Harris and the Progressive Conservatives won office in 1995.
Cover of Life Before Medicare, a project of the Ontario Coalition of Seniors Citizens’ Organizations. This series of recollections shows how bad it was in the “good old days”. Courtesy of the Ontario Coalition of Senior Citizens’ Organizations