Tommy Douglas Tommy Douglas demonstrates a true leader, he believed in access to healthcare for citizens from all walks of life. Douglas also valued a government that was for the people, by setting up a socialist government in North America, in which distribution of wealth and property is community based. Douglas portrayed an important role in Canadian history because he introduced universal hospitalization in Saskatchewan, set up a Medicare program, and was the first leader of a socialist government in
North America which lead the way to other social reforms throughout Canada. When Douglas was a child, he injured his leg and later developed osteomyelitis, causing inflammation to the bone. His families inability to afford medical care, would have cost him his leg. Douglas was fortunate with the exception made by Dr. R. J Smith, who was a very distinguished surgeon, that the operation would be performed for free if his students could watch. Douglas, grateful of Dr.
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Smith’s help, later stated: “l felt that no boy should have to depend on either for his leg or his life upon the bility of his parents to raise enough money to bring a first class surgeon to his bedside. ” This life altering experience brought Douglas to the realize that an individuals health and well- being should be independent of their ability to pay for medical care. Douglas later led himself to a life in politics. In 1947 when Douglas was Premier of Saskatchewan, he himself introduced universal hospitalization to Saskatchewan, he asked for a $5. 00 fee per person.
Douglas noted: hospitalization is aid out of the treasury, in which it is government funded, therefore he argued, “instead of the burden of those hospital bills falling on the sick people, it is spread over all the people. ” Douglas felt that no one who is in need of medical help should have to worry about paying the expenses. Introducing hospitalization was a huge effect on Canada because without it, not many people would be able to afford most things they need to provide good health for themselves. In 1959 the North American Medical Establishment tried defying Medicare which was
Douglas’ top project at that time; this is when Saskatchewan suddenly became a battlefield. The Doctors Strike were physicians that were protesting for socialized healthcare and trying to beat him to it; Douglas never once feared of them. This system was to provide coverage everywhere with service that was pre-payment and government administration. Douglas had promised that this would include all patients, and doctors concerns. The only difference was that Douglas wanted to figure out where the doctors bill was going to be sent to.
In 1960, Douglas was apart f the provincial election and fought with everything he had to fulfill and make his Medicare ideas reality. The situation eventually came toa resolution in 1961, which resulted in the establishment of Medicare In Saskatchewan. Not only did Douglas show Canada that it was in every way possible to develop and finance a universal Medicare system, but without Douglas making these first ground breaking steps, National Medicare would have never happened. Our healthcare system today provides full health care services at no cost guaranteed by the federal law Just as
Douglas wanted. All Canadians are guaranteed access to hospital and physician services but it is up to the province to make the decision on whether or not they want to cover supplementary benefits that include dental care and drug coverage. Home care and the coverage for prescription drugs is different from province to province. Medical care today is massively different technologically, apposed to how it was in the mid 1900’s. I feel that if Douglas was to still be here today, he would be very proud of how much medical care has grown and expanded over the years.