As a liberal democracy, Canada cares deeply about the welfare of its citizens. Its publicly funded health insurance system is a great source of pride. Known as medicare, it provides basic health care to all. Funded jointly by the federal and provincial governments, it is administered by the individual provinces in response to the needs of its local populations. For this reason it has a different character in each area. In Quebec, for example, in addition to medical care, free medication has been integrated into the province’s medicare plan. In British Columbia, refl ecting the needs of its large Asian population, traditional Chinese medicine is a feature of the system, along with other complementary medical disciplines. Anyone with a permanent resident’s visa is eligible for medicare.
Universal public health care provides Canadians with a very high standard of care, on par with privately insured U.S. citizens.
The 2006 Global Competitiveness Index ranked Canada’s health and education systems number two in the world.
Life expectancy is 81.2 years at birth compared with the U.S.’s 78.1 years.