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Comparison Between U.S and Canadian Healthcare System

Every country has tried much to improve its health care services in the last forty years. In Canada and the U.S., health care has been made a basic for everybody though accessing the services has not been fully achieved. In Canada, primary health care has been accomplished by providing coverage through a government-sponsored system where each province administers her system. By doing this, the Canadian government has made health care universal for all her citizens irrespective of age, race, gender, or occupation. There are no preexisting medical conditions that can prevent an individual from accessing the services. Insurance cover is for all, unlike in the U.S., where when an individual turns twenty-six, then he or she is not legible for the insurance medical care for the family. In the U.S., every individual pays about 17.4% of the gross domestic product to insurance in a single-payer system compared to the relatively cheaper pay in Canada, where the individual pays just 11.4% of the GDP (Esmail & Walker, 2005). According to the last figures of 2009, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development shows that the U.S. healthcare expenditure per capita was $7,960 compared to $4,363 of Canada (Szick et al., 2009).

In Canada, the health care system can be offered privately and still be financed by the taxpayers’ money, and doctors are allowed to run their practices as a private business. Doctors can bill patients for services such as cosmetic dermatology and laboratory studies separately. However, in the U.S., such services cannot be offered freely in a private capacity. A patient would be charged an additional cost of $40 when attending private health services (Szick et al., 2009).

A Comparison of the U.S. Health and the Canadian Health System

The Canadian system is relatively simple to operate since every individual is issued a healthcare card that serves as the credit card to cover services. This has reduced the paperwork, hence saving time and promoting efficiency in the health sector. This has made the work of the Canadian physician simpler as they only need to submit the charges electronically, and most of the offices run on a skeleton support staff. There is only one insurance plan in Canada that covers and deals with insurance rules. The cover is universal compared to the U.S, where there are multiple insurance covers, and the charges are rarely done electronically. The data from Health Affairs, the per-physician cost of dealing with payers, was $82,975 in the U.S. compared Canadians where the price was relatively ranging at $22,205 a year (Esmail & Walker, 2005).

The U.S. has separate lists of Medicare, for example, Medicare advantage, the indemnities, Medicare advantage plans, the Blues, and others. In contrast, Canada has a single list of covered procedures and charges. In Canada, the submitted physician payment and fees are identical; they have a non-negotiable amount and are fixed for all the providers (Szick et al., 2009).

The U.S. has a single-payer system that has elicited fierce reactions from the Americans since the government is the sole source of financing of the whole healthcare system. The U.S. government’s failure to trim budgets during economic hardships has led to the escalating cost of health care in the country. It has affected the allocation of revenues to healthcare (Szick et al., 2009). However, the situation is different in Canada that has well-developed technology in the health sector. The development of technology in Canada has eased the distribution of drugs and has modest charges and hospitalization expenses. Nevertheless, over time the health cost has exploded in Canada and has led to inadequate access to timely and appropriate care.

In Canada, where the government controls health care costs, things are not better off and mostly stagnate on some occasions. The whole of healthcare in Canada is affected because of the governmental costs of regulation. As the scholars say, by limiting access, limiting values, the Canadian government does limit health care costs. Most patients are referred to local emergency rooms during weekends when there is a doctors’ inadequacy where patients wait for days for inpatient beds (Esmail & Walker, 2005). Hospital budgets are centralized and are strictly regulated by provincial health care authority. On the contrary, the U.S. has a different system where the Diagnostic Related Group drives discharge.

Doctors are widely respected in Canada as compared to the U.S. while the internists and cognitivism are earning the same pay in both countries, the wage gap between the interventionist is large in both countries (Szick et al., 2009). Those in Canada are paid a third of what their counterparts in the U.S. get leaving Canadian graduates with a fewer incentive to choose from. The Canadian medical charts are not audited compared to that of the U.S., where thorough auditing is carried regularly to ascertain their effectiveness and efficiency.

  • Esmail N, & Walker, M. (2005). How good is Canadian Healthcare?: 2005 Report. Fraser Institute, Vancouver, BC.
  • Szick, S, Angus, D.E, Nichol, G, Harrison, M.B, Page, J, & Moher, D. (2009). Health Care Delivery in Canada and the United States: Are There Relevant Differences in Health Care Outcomes? Toronto: Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (Publication no. 99-04-TR.)

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