HealthcarePapers 8(3) May 2008 : 21-29.doi:10.12927/hcpap.2008.19794

The Case for Excluding Workers' Compensation Insurance from Medicare

Terrance J Bogyo


The lead paper, "Parallel Payers and Preferred Access: How Canada's Workers' Compensation Boards Expedite Care for Injured and Ill Workers," discusses the implications of funding parallel systems of health - workers' compensation and provincially operated services - and concludes that the current model can create rivalries and inequities through preferred access for some workers.

The following commentary outlines provincially funded healthcare insurance and workers' compensation systems in the context of their public policy origins, common and distinct features and social purposes. It argues that a narrow examination of coincident payments excludes consideration of the broader social justice principles inherent in workers' compensation and overlooks the substantial differences in the scope and mandate between these two important social policy domains. Contrasting the pure "social insurance" nature of workers' compensation with the taxpayer-funded nature of provincial health insurance, several alternative policies are examined with respect to their consequences for payers and beneficiaries. The commentary addresses definitional differences and supports the view that these insurance systems are complementary and essential to sound public policy and best serve the needs of workers, their employers and the general public.



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