Australia’s Medicare Locals are in a formative period, and any comparison so far has focused on the United Kingdom
The Australian and Canadian health systems share many similarities; one author has described them as “children of a common mother”.1 The fundamentals of the provision of primary care in both countries are the same: the overwhelming majority of “general practitioners” in Australia and “family physicians” in Canada work in independent practices, billing “Medicare” on a fee-for-service basis. The structure of family practice is similar, with a mix of solo and multiphysician practices. In Alberta, patients are not required to register with a single practice, but many family practices are not accepting new patients, and so registration with a practice is universally seen as desirable. There is no financial penalty (on the patient or the practice) for patients seeing a physician outside the practice in which they are registered. There are some differences; most notably that health care in Canada is essentially a provincial responsibility operating within overall parameters set by the Canada Health Act, and that “extra-billing” (billing above the schedule fee) is prohibited.
Publication of your online response is subject to the Medical Journal of Australia's editorial discretion. You will be notified by email within five working days should your response be accepted.