Tommy Douglas: The Founder Of Free Healthcare In Canada
I have selected medicare as my example of social change because I believe it affects all of us. It wasn’t until July 1st, 1968 in Canada that it was decided that medicare would be paid for by the government. Previously falling ill had been one of the most feared things in Canada as it meant large bills that not many Canadians were able to pay and their illnesses often resulted in death. With only a few options like using home remedies, the choice to go to the hospital or receive help from a local doctor was only a choice some of the more wealthier people in Canada could choose. The rest of the population were left fighting for their lives, and either waiting for the illness to pass or in other unfortunate circumstances, waiting for death. The individual who advocated for Medicare is named Tommy Douglas who worked as the Saskatchewan Premier in 1944-1961. One of the first changes Tommy wanted to make while being the premier was to have free medical care for “pensioners, those on government support and for cancer patients”. The reason why Douglas had the goal to create free healthcare was based on a personal event that took place in his childhood. When he was six years old he fell ill and needed to have his leg amputated, however, his family did not have the funds to cover it. Tommy’s case was lucky and he was able to get the surgery for free as a surgeon made a deal with him to amputate his leg without charge as long as the doctor’s students could watch. In 1947, during Douglas’s time as premier, he had made Saskatchewan financially stable and for only $5 a year enabled the residents in Saskatchewan to have free hospital visits and surgeries. After the rest of the provinces in Canada were able to see how this program Tommy had created works, the new Prime Minister elected in 1958, John Diefenbaker, decided to match the funds to any province that decided to implement the same healthcare program like the one in Saskatchewan. With the help of the government, Saskatchewan ending up having extra money in their budget the next year, which is when Tommy Douglas was able to create free healthcare that included everything for Saskatchewan. A few years later, in 1966, all of Canada was provided with free healthcare all thanks to Tommy Douglas and his efforts.