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Canada has a universal health care system where each citizen gets the same kind of minimal health care no matter what job you have or income status. In a universal health care system, citizens generally will pay higher taxes to the federal government in order for the government to provide every person in the country some type of health care. No matter if you're out of work and living on the poverty line, you and your family will be able to walk into an ER and get care without going through the process of seeing if your insurance will cover it. Many people see this as a great way to have health care in a country, and others see it as a socialist idea that will only give people minimal health care that is not effective or efficient. The best way to find out if it works is talk to a Canadian. I have a friend that is Canadian, and he says it's fine health care and not a third-world-country type of system, which many think of when they think of universal health care.
The Canadian health care system is defined as a "single payer" system. This means that the government pays most of the healthcare expenses for its citizens but in some provinces, citizens must pay some kind of premium. However, the system is not "socialized medicine" like Great Britain because most doctors are part of the private sector and work out of their own offices similar to the U.S. system. Private health care insurance is also available to cover expenses the government does not cover.
If you live in Canada, you have a health card issued by the province in which you live. When you go to a doctor or a hospital, you present your health card. The health care provider then bills the province for your care according to a fixed schedule -- you don't pay anything. This covers primary care, preventive care, surgery, etc. -- not just the ER.
It has the kind of health care where the average Canadian doesn't concern themselves with health care. If it's needed, it's there, i.e. focus on something more interesting.
-From a Canadian.
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