Truly Free Healthcare: Is it Possible?

imagineKrista Simpson describes a student-run, multi-discipline health care center, that requires no ID, no insurance, and no fees, for Torontoist. Is this a possible future model, not just for a marginalised identity-less population, but for Canada and the world at large?

At IMAGINE, a clinic organized and run by U of T students, multidisciplinary teams provide medical care to patients who would otherwise go without.

The life of someone studying in a medical field is a busy one, but for a group of University of Toronto students, even the hectic schedule does not stop them from taking on an extra project.

They are volunteers at a clinic called IMAGINE, an acronym for Interprofessional Medical and Allied Groups for Improving Neighbourhood Environments, which runs out of the Queen West Community Health Centre (168 Bathurst Street) on Saturdays. Patients do not need a health card or identification to be seen. Most who come through their doors are homeless or are new immigrants.

The clinic is organized and run by students who see patients under the supervision of a professional in their field. Neither the students nor their preceptors get paid for their hours. They do not accumulate any school credit. But for them, the experience is worth it.

“We’re serving people. We’re serving the population that needs it most. And we’re potentially changing people’s lives and allowing them to get even that first point of access into their lives and seeing what can be changed,” explains Yick Kan Cheung, a 23-year-old student of social work who is one of IMAGINE’s current co-directors…

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14 Comments on "Truly Free Healthcare: Is it Possible?"

  1. Anonymous | Jan 11, 2012 at 5:54 pm |

    No, it’s not possible.  Having it run by volunteers is certainly going to cut costs a lot.  But, someone has to either pay the rent or forgo the rent.  Someone has to pay to keep the lights on.  Someone has to pay for the medicines.  And, what happens if, God Forbid, they get sued?  

    I applaud them for doing this.  It is a great public service.  And, it will certainly be of help to many people.   And, the costs will certainly be lower.  But very little is truly free.  

  2. No, it’s not possible.  Having it run by volunteers is certainly going to cut costs a lot.  But, someone has to either pay the rent or forgo the rent.  Someone has to pay to keep the lights on.  Someone has to pay for the medicines.  And, what happens if, God Forbid, they get sued?  

    I applaud them for doing this.  It is a great public service.  And, it will certainly be of help to many people.   And, the costs will certainly be lower.  But very little is truly free.  

    • What the right need to understand is that only healthy people can work to their full potential and earn as much money.  So healthcare necessarily precedes wealth creation.

    • Jin The Ninja | Jan 11, 2012 at 2:33 pm |

      It’s free to users, space is in a non-profit community center, they have two paid staff and pay for medications. They are in canada not the us, we’re not nearly as litigious particularly against doctors unless they’ve done something grievous.

    • Magpie Allbeing | Jan 11, 2012 at 3:39 pm |

      People don’t get retarded over lawsuits up in Canada.

  3. What the right need to understand is that only healthy people can work to their full potential and earn as much money.  So healthcare necessarily precedes wealth creation.

  4. Jin (仁) | Jan 11, 2012 at 6:33 pm |

    It’s free to users, space is in a non-profit community center, they have two paid staff and pay for medications. They are in canada not the us, we’re not nearly as litigious particularly against doctors unless they’ve done something grievous.

  5. Magpie Allbeing | Jan 11, 2012 at 7:38 pm |

    Similar clinics operate throughout Canada. SWITCH (Student Wellness Initiative Toward Community Health) in Saskatoon has been a student run free clinic since 2005. And in Vancouver the same type of project has been going strong since 2002! Community Health Clinics provide the space, donations pay the costs. Kudos to all the students involved. Keep up the good work.

  6. Magpie Allbeing | Jan 11, 2012 at 3:38 pm |

    Similar clinics operate throughout Canada. SWITCH (Student Wellness Initiative Toward Community Health) in Saskatoon has been a student run free clinic since 2005. And in Vancouver the same type of project has been going strong since 2002! Community Health Clinics provide the space, donations pay the costs. Kudos to all the students involved. Keep up the good work.

  7. Magpie Allbeing | Jan 11, 2012 at 7:39 pm |

    People don’t get retarded over lawsuits up in Canada.

  8. Jin (仁) | Jan 12, 2012 at 2:39 am |

    I am shocked Sask. has one, but it IS great!

    thanks for letting me know!

  9. SOCIALISTS!! GEORGE BUSH 2012!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. Metaphysicalvirtue | Jan 13, 2012 at 3:46 am |

    SOCIALISTS!! GEORGE BUSH 2012!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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