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Canada’s healthcare system faces some challenges that make it hard for all people to get quality medical services. For over five decades, the country has been having one of the best healthcare systems. However, the changing landscape of the medical system leads to some problems. One of the most significant challenges that the Canadian healthcare system is facing is the increase in the aging population and the cost of prescription medication. In particular, the elderly are delicate and vulnerable to many diseases. These individuals are dependent on their families or caregivers since the majority of them are not working. The primary problem is that some of them do not settle their bills including their medications, which is a burden to the entire healthcare system. Aging population in Canada is a significant challenge to the healthcare system since it increases the medical expenditure.
The successive federal governments of Canada have been reducing the healthcare expenditure since the 1970s where the tax was transferred to territories and provinces. If the federal contributions continue with the current trend where it is declining, then it will be difficult to achieve the national standards of medical services in Canada. Also, the federal government will lose its authority, which is to enforce the healthcare act. Therefore, the problem of the aging population affects the Canadian healthcare system both directly and indirectly. On the one hand, the elderly need frequent medical assistance, but they lack the money to pay for the services since the majority are not working (Osborn et al., 2014). On the other hand, they strain the resources provided by the federal government, which tarnishes its image since it seems like the state is not responsible for this demographic. The Canadian healthcare system must continue offering treatment and other medical services to older adults regardless of whether they have enough or limited resources.
Currently, the cost of medical services in Canada is rapidly increasing that makes the problem of the aging population to deteriorate. For instance, the cost of hospital insurance has been rising due to economic growth. The federal government has increased its health budgets to cater to the increasing aging population. In 2016, the total spending on medical services was approximately 11.1% of the Canada gross domestic product (GDP). Overall, a citizen spends about $4,790 on health care per year (Simpson et al., 2017). In other words, the cost of medical services in Canada is rising. The aging population adds pressure to the Canadian healthcare system bearing in mind that the baby boomers will enter their senior years in the next few years. As a result, the increasing medical cost and the rising population of the elderly will adversely affect the healthcare system of Canada since the federal government does not enough resources for the provision of care.
The problem of the aging population in Canada emanates from the failure of the system to adapt the changing population needs in the healthcare sector. Therefore, several solutions exist that can be implemented to revive the Canadian healthcare system that was previously known for quality and effectiveness. First, the federal government should come up with an insurance policy that targets the aging population. Specifically, the healthcare system is ready to offer medical services for the elderly, particularly if they can settle the bills (Valle, 2016). An insurance program for older adults will eliminate the burden on the federal government since seniors will pay their bills. In other terms, they will become financially independent. As such, regardless of whether they get patient care from hospitals, home, social, primary, assisted-living, and long-term care, their insurance will cater to their medical expenses. However, to implement the above solution, healthcare entities should share the information effectively and in a coordinated way by making sure that the patient is at the center.
Furthermore, the federal government should initiate an awareness campaign for healthy living among the elderly. In the digital era, the lifestyle has changed that contribute to numerous health problems in the aging population. For example, many individuals have sedentary lifestyles where they spend more time working while seated and they eat food with high levels of calories. For this reason, they become obese, which is the source of many problems experienced by people in old age (Russell, 2017). Additionally, the government should persuade people to have a retirement plan where they save money to use when they get old. Another possible solution is the increase of the retirement age to allow many older adults to continue working, which will eliminate dependency on families and the government. Consequently, the problem of increasing medical cost among older adults can only be solved by empowering this demographic so that they can stop relying on others.
To sum up, the most critical problem facing the Canadian healthcare system is the increase in aging population who are unable to pay for medical services in hospitals. As such, this group of people pressurizes the healthcare system and become a burden to the federal government. The possible solution for the above issue is the implementation of a health insurance policy that caters to the needs of the elderly. Moreover, the government should come up with a health awareness campaign that promotes healthy living to avoid many health problems caused by a sedentary lifestyle.
- Osborn, R., Moulds, D., Squires, D., Doty, M. M., & Anderson, C. (2014). International survey of older adults finds shortcomings in access, coordination, and patient-centered care. Health Affairs, 33(12), 142-243.
- Russell, A. (2017). Is Canada’s health-care system ready for our rapidly greying population? Global News. Retrieved from https://globalnews.ca/news/3429041/healthcare-stats-canada-2016-census/.
- Simpson, C., Walker, D. M., Drummond, D., Sinclair, D., & Wilson, R. (2017). How healthy is the Canadian health-care system? The Conversation. Retrieved from https://theconversation.com/how-healthy-is-the-canadian-health-care-system-82674.
- Valle, V. M. (2016). An assessment of Canada’s healthcare system weighing achievements and challenges. North America, 11(2), 193-218.
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