Woman wearing a surgical mask

How we can make the best Canadian idea ever even better

THERE’S GOOD NEWS ABOUT MEDICARE: we can make it even better. The proof is in Canadian Health Care: The art of the possible, a study from the Public Services Foundation of Canada (PSFC). It is the latest salvo in the foundation’s ongoing campaign to celebrate, protect and expand our Medicare.

“Medicare captures the best of us,” says PSFC board member James Clancy. “It turns our desire to share our common wealth and to care for one another into something real, that does real good, to real people, every day.”

“We all need and want to keep our good thing going. Our new study will help with that.”

The paper looks to Europe for inspiration. “It seemed to us this would be much more useful than adding to the endless comparisons with the for-profit USA system,” says Clancy. “We set out to do something that could directly benefit the millions of Canadians who rely on Medicare.”

Looking to Europe

The paper reviewed the health care delivery systems in eight European countries. The goal was to find ways and practices that we could learn from. That is: discover best practices there, that are possible for us to use here.

“European countries have the same strains and loads on their health care systems that we do” says Clancy. “Yet, often have superior outcomes and bolder innovations. There is much to learn and, better still, there are good practices to emulate.”

The “best practices” European possibilities highlighted in the paper include:

  • a mobile child mental health service in Germany;
  • baby boxes in Finland;
  • free dental care for under 18 year olds in Denmark;
  • greater public involvement in health care governance including in some countries formal patients rights declarations;
  • free personal care for those over 65 in Scotland whether at home or in an institution
  • national pharmacare programs.

“This paper should open our minds to how many good ways there are to make Medicare—the best Canadian idea ever—even better,” says Clancy.

“The for-profit crowd and the naysayers are often loud. But we stand on the firm ground of sharing and caring. That has always been the story of Medicare. The lessons from Europe in this study confirm there is no reason to change it.


Canadian Health Care: The art of the possible