Healthcare is perhaps the one issue on which there is truly a national consensus. Indeed, when Canadians - consumers, politicians, academics, caregivers, providers and others - refer to the healthcare system, it is generally with a deep sense of affiliation and commitment. This national consensus is so pervasive that, although healthcare is the responsibility of the provincial governments, the federal Canada Health Act enjoys overwhelming support among the Canadian public.
While Canadians place a high value on their healthcare system, it has been increasingly subjected to the forces of reform. The impetus for, objectives of, and concerns about, healthcare reform are remarkably similar across the country, yet the methods, processes and outcomes of reform have varied from province to province.
This article endeavors to identify and contrast perspectives on healthcare reform between consumers and healthcare opinion leaders and managers, based on national opinion and survey data. These comparative perspectives assist in providing an understanding of the emerging healthcare environment and reform processes shaped by the degree of consensus among and between consumers and key players in the healthcare system. On the basis of this understanding, some preliminary conclusions about the future of healthcare reform in Canada are drawn.
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