Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Saskatchewan Hospital Services Insurance Plan

After the failure of the federal health insurance proposal in 1946, the CCF government in Saskatchewan moved forwards with its own plan for a provincial hospital services insurance plan.

Having already provided provincial funding for the health needs of the indigent, the blind and single mothers in 1945–1946, the government of Tommy Douglas proceeded to develop a province-wide plan that used the 900 municipalities to enrol all citizens in the plan. Each year at tax time, local authorities collected the annual premium and updated the individual’s or family’s information on their hospital services card.

By 1954, Saskatchewan had 810,000 people covered by its plan, and the statistics that had been generated since its introduction in 1947 clearly demonstrated that increasing the number of available hospital beds also increased the rate of occupancy. Many of the new beds were occupied by mothers and their newborns, and a large proportion of the remainder by the elderly.

For Saskatchewan, the creation of its provincial hospital services insurance program was the first step towards a comprehensive service that would fulfill CCF goals of ensuring that all citizens had access to this basic social good.

In November 1945, Swift Current’s residents voted to establish Saskatchewan’s first health region. The Swift Current Health Region was a self-governing authority that successfully provided a comprehensive range of health care services. This health card belonged to Miss Mary Morgan. 

Western Development Museum, WDM-2003-5-512

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