Students will develop an understanding of medicare by exploring the Web resource Making Medicare: The History of Health Care in Canada, 1914–2007, selecting key images and content from one of the eight time periods covered in the History, and, as a class, creating a timeline of important events. They will conclude with a class discussion about their observations on recurring themes and challenges in the history of medicare, as well as the challenges they faced in creating a timeline.
Grade: Grades 9 to12; Quebec Secondary Cycle 2
Subjects: Social Studies, History and Citizenship Education, Language Arts, Arts Education
Themes: Twentieth-century Canadian history, social change, social programs, Canadian citizenship and identity, connections between historical phenomena and contemporary life, Canadian politics and government
Objectives and Competencies: Use information, use information and communication technology, use oral communication, communicate appropriately; observe, describe, summarize, reason; use critical thinking and creativity; cooperate with and listen to others; develop research skills and methods of historical inquiry
Duration: 180–240 minutes
One Medicare Timeline Worksheet for each student
Required Technical Equipment
1. Make sure students have been introduced to the subject of medicare in Canada.
2. Familiarize yourself with Making Medicare: The History of Health Care in Canada, 1914–2007, as well as the Student Introduction and Student Steps for this Lesson Plan.
3. Make sure you have a large horizontal space available on the blackboard or whiteboard, plus a roll of tape.
1. Begin with a classroom discussion about medicare.
Ask how many of your students have visited a doctor or a hospital in Canada. How did they pay for their health care services? Explain that in Canada, our medical care insurance system, known as medicare, is a state-managed system that is funded by tax revenues, and that no Canadian should ever have to pay for essential medical services out of his or her own pocket.
This was not always the case, of course. Find out what your students know about health care before medicare. Some may have heard about doctors being paid with chickens, and families having to forego other necessities in order to pay medical bills. Prior to 1966, when the Medical Care Act was passed, many people had no medical care insurance and had to pay for medical services themselves. If you had to go to a doctor or hospital, you were responsible for your own bills. Some people — the more fortunate — belonged to private insurance plans, either through work or independently. Either they or their employer paid a premium and, when medical care was needed, the insurer paid most of the costs involved.
Ask your students to imagine what it would be like if they had to pay for their own medical bills directly, or if, for example, their family had to save up for an important operation. Today, we take Canada’s medicare system for granted, but it has had a long and difficult history and it was never universally supported.
2. Introduce Making Medicare: The History of Health Care in Canada, 1914–2007 and the Medicare Timeline challenge.
Divide the class into eight groups, and assign each group a time period from the Making Medicare History. Explain the students’ task: each group will select the images and written descriptions that they feel best illustrate the period they have been assigned, and then, with the other groups, create a timeline that illustrates the history of medicare. Direct your students to the Student Introduction and Student Steps related to this Lesson Plan,and explain that all the information they need for the assignment, including links to the Making Medicare History, is accessible from those sections.
3. Give the groups time to complete their work. As needed, provide support to students as they gather their material.
4. Invite each group to present its part of the timeline, in chronological order.
Write the year “1914” at one end of the blackboard, and the present year at the other end. Ask each group to tape onto the blackboard the images and captions chosen to depict five key events from their assigned time period, write the year above each image and read the text related to the image.
5. When all sections of the timeline have been presented, engage the class in a discussion about the history of medicare.
When does the history end?
Are there recurring themes throughout medicare’s history?
Are there issues that are still unresolved?
6. Discuss the challenges of creating a timeline.
What did students choose to leave out? How did they make that choice?
What material do they see as missing from the Making Medicare History?
Is a timeline a good method of presenting history?
1. Personal Medicare Timeline
Ask your students to research their family connection to medicare and make a timeline that melds medicare history and family history, and ends in the present. They should find images from their family photographs, and images from the Making Medicare History that relate to their families.
2. The Future
Add a “Future” space to your timeline. Invite a discussion on what could happen to medicare in the future.
3. Principles of Medicare
Review the five principles of the Canada Health Act with the class (comprehensive coverage, universality, portability, public administration and accessibility). Divide students into groups and assign one principle to each group. How has this principle changed from the creation of medicare? Is this principle being adhered to in their own province or territory today?
4. History of Medicare Exhibition Webquest
Assign your students the History of Medicare Exhibition Webquest as a means of building on what they have learned about medicare history and making use of historical resources from the Making Medicare History.
5. Arts Education
Ask your students to select an event in the history of medicare and portray it in a play or in another format of their choice. Brainstorm with them about possible events (e.g., the doctor’s strike in Saskatchewan, the debate in the Saskatchewan legislature, etc.), and on different formats (e.g., a dramatic representation, a poem, a song or a dance).