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Michigan Universal Health Care Access Network

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Canada's population size of 31,281,000 is roughly the same as that of California (33,871,648). Its infant mortality rate is 5.08 per 1,000 live births, better than our 6.82. Life expectancy at birth is 76.02 years for men and 83 years for women, a little less than two years better for men and a little more than two years better for women, compared to the US.

Canada's per capita GDP is $23,300, $10,600 less than in the US. They spend 9.3% of that on health care, or $2167 per person per year. This is almost exactly half of what we spend, per person, every year, for the by-now familiar better results.

National health insurance had been discussed in Canada at the federal level since 1919, but no real action was taken until 1944. Today, Canada's health system is characterized by single-payer national health insurance, and the federal government requires that insurance cover "all medically necessary services."

National health insurance (Medicare) is a public program administered by the provinces and overseen by the federal government. Medicare is funded by general tax revenues. Federal contributions are tied to population and provincial economic conditions, and provinces pay the remainder. Medicare accounts for 72% of health expenditures. In addition, the majority of Canadians have supplemental private insurance coverage through group plans, which extends the range of insured services, such as dental care, rehabilitation, prescription drugs, and private care nursing. The private sector (private insurance and out-of-pocket payments) accounts for 28% of health expenditures.

Most physicians in Canada are in private practice and accept fee-for-service Medicare payment rates set by the government. Provincial medical associations negotiate insured fee-for-service schedules with provincial health ministries. Some physicians set their own rates but are not reimbursed by the public system. Hospitals are mainly non-profit and operate under global institution-specific or regional budgets with some fee-for-service payment. Less than 5% of all Canadian hospitals are privately owned.

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