Comparing The Doctors Strike Of 1962 Forged The Path To Public Healthcare In Canada

1015 Words5 Pages

How the Doctors’ Strike of 1962 Forged the Path to Public Healthcare in Canada
During the post-war era, there was a noticeable movement towards state intervention in the establishment of universal public healthcare systems. Organized medicine strongly opposed this development out of fear that changes to the system would diminish professional autonomy and reduce physician income. This paper examines the Saskatchewan strike of 1962 that involved 700 doctors who withheld medical services to the residents of Saskatchewan following the announcement that the province would be adopting a federally funded health insurance program. This paper dissects the philosophical underpinnings of the political action of striking taken by the doctors …show more content…

The Saskatchewan physicians that partook in the strike alleged that the involvement of the federal government in health service administration would ultimately relinquish them of their freedom and the Medical Care Insurance Act would result in the destruction of the democratic way (“Civilization.ca - Making Medicare: The History of Health Care in Canada, 1914-2007,” 2015). The philosophy behind the doctors’ intense desire to determine the nature of their relationship with patients and retain their right to set their own fees is classic liberalism. The classic liberalist possesses a spectrum of views, from near-anarchist to those that attribute a significant role to the state in economic and social policy (Gaus, 2004). Many can argue that withholding vital life-saving services to the population was anarchistic owing the fact that the medical profession tried to overthrow the government (Badgley & Wolfe, 1965). Marchildon and Schrijvers utilized the term ‘medical liberalism’ to describe the individualistic philosophy behind the doctors’ strike. Medical liberalism is characterized by professional autonomy, doctor-patient confidentiality, free choice of doctor by the patient, and fees set by individual doctors as opposed to the state (2011). Each of these principles was fought for during the strike staged by the Saskatchewan …show more content…

The doctors of Saskatchewan wanted the freedom to practice medicine under his or her own terms. Though the government was perceived to have won the strike in 1962, the doctors were able force major compromises from the government. The dispute was resolved by British physician Stephen Taylor, who played a pivotal role in introducing Britain’s national health plan (Baltzan, 2002). Through his mediation efforts, Lord Stephen Taylor was able to negotiate terms and preserve a fee-for-service model for primary and specialized care as opposed to a salaried-employment model. This meant the doctors were able to bill their patients if they chose to do so and they could also charge more than what would be reimbursed to the patients under the provincial plan (“Health Policy - The Canadian Encyclopedia,” 2006). The negotiated terms also granted the doctors the option of working outside the public medical insurance scheme (Marchildon & Schrijvers, 2011). These negotiations were outlined in the Saskatoon agreement Lord Taylor drafted, which once signed; enabled Canada to begin its journey to adopt this modified design of the universal public healthcare

More about Comparing The Doctors Strike Of 1962 Forged The Path To Public Healthcare In Canada

Open Document