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In addition to public health care providers such as primary care doctors and hospitals, many private clinics offering specialized services also operate in Canada.
Under federal law, private clinics are not legally allowed to provide services covered by the Canada Health Act. Regardless of this legal issue, many do offer such services.
The advantage of private clinics is that they typically offer services with reduced wait times compared to the public health care system. For example, obtaining an MRI scan in a hospital could require a waiting period of months, whereas it could be obtained much faster in a private clinic.
Private clinics are a subject of controversy, as some feel that their existence unbalances the health care system and favors treatments to those with higher incomes.
Costs in private clinics are usually covered by private insurance policies, which will typically pay around 80% of the costs.
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