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Pressured by an aging population and the need to rein in budget deficits, Canada's provinces are taking tough measures to curb healthcare costs, a trend that could erode the principles of the popular state-funded system.
Ontario, Canada's most populous province, kicked off a fierce battle with drug companies and pharmacies when it said earlier this year it would halve generic drug prices and eliminate "incentive fees" to generic drug manufacturers.
In some ways the Canadian debate is the mirror image of discussions going on in the United States.
Canada, fretting over budget strains, wants to prune its system, while the United States, worrying about an army of uninsured, aims to create a state-backed safety net.
Healthcare in Canada is delivered through a publicly funded system, which covers all "medically necessary" hospital and physician care and curbs the role of private medicine. It ate up about 40 percent of provincial budgets, or some C$183 billion ($174 billion) last year.
We simply need to reduce costs by reducing the ammount of emergency room visits for stupid things, like colds or the regular flu.
As we do have "free" healthcare, people do take somewhat advantage by going to the hospitals for any little thing, when there are plenty of over the counter/natural remedies that can be used.