Similarities Between Canada And Us Healthcare

Topics: Health Care

This sample essay on Similarities Between Canada And Us Healthcare provides important aspects of the issue and arguments for and against as well as the needed facts. Read on this essay’s introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion.


Access to affordable healthcare is one of the basic things that a government should ensure that its citizens have. Each and every citizen should be able to have a medical insurance cover to enable him/her settle the huge bills that accumulate in cases where individuals have chronic illness and have to undergo major medical procedures.

This paper is going to compare the Canadian healthcare system with the one in the US.

Comparison Of Healthcare Systems


Comparison of healthcare systems is usually done by public policy analysts, government and the public health sector. Canada and the US had healthcare systems that were similar before Canada made reforms in her healthcare systems between 1960 and 1970. Comparing the amount of money allocated to the health sector by both governments: the United States spends more as compared to Canada in both GDP percentage and per-capita basis.

According to the study that was carried out in 2006, Canada’s per-capita spending was 3,678 US dollars while the US’s spending was 6,714 US dollars. 15.3 % of US’s GDP was directed to healthcare with Canada dedicating only 10 % of its GDP. In 2006, the Canadian government financed 70 % of the healthcare budget unlike the US government with only 46 % of the healthcare budget. In total, the US government per-capita spending on healthcare was higher by 23% compared to Canadian spending (Woolhandler, Steffie, Terry & Himmelstein, 2003).

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Despite the amount of money that the US spends on healthcare, a review of all comparison healthcare studies of both countries by a Canadian peer reviewed journal indicated that healthcare outcomes of patients receiving their care in Canada were superior to those of the US although these differences were not consistent. It was also noted that the life expectance in Canada was longer compared to the US with a lower infant mortality rate although there was debate concerning the causes of underlying differences. Canada was found to have a higher acute myocardial infraction mortality rate compared to the US. This could partly be attributed to its conservative approach to revascularizing arteries (Decker & Remler, 2004).

The healthcare expenses for the two countries have continued to rise over the recent years. Both countries look at each other seeking ways through which they can be able to improve their healthcare systems although there is conflicting information concerning the merits of these two systems.

Canada has a single-payer healthcare system which ensures that 70 % of healthcare costs are covered. It also has a health act that requires all people to be fully insured for physical and all other medical care. The public sector finances approximately 99 % of physician services and almost 91 % of the total hospital expenses. Most of its private expenditures result from dental and ophthalmology services. Unlike the Canadian healthcare system, the US’s system has a mixed private-public healthcare system. This system has left an approximated 45 million Americans without a medical insurance cover (Woolhandler, Steffie, Terry & Himmelstein, 2003).

Both governments show concern for the healthcare system although the difference comes in health insurance. Canadian federal government offers financial support to the provincial governments’ healthcare expenditure provided that these provincial governments abide by Canadian Health Act requirements. The act prohibits the provincial healthcare providers from billing patient procedures which already are covered under the Medicare plan. Its hospitals are under the control of regional health and private boards authorities instead of being controlled by the government. Unlike the Canadian system, the US’s healthcare funding is limited to Medicaid, State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) and Medicare which provide cover to children, eligible adult citizens, disabled individuals and the poor. There is also a veteran administration program that offers veterans, survivors and their families’ medical care through clinics and medical care centers (Esmail & Walker, 2005).

Most effective feature in providing a comprehensive patient care in both countries:

Both governments are actively involved in ensuring that each and every citizen has access to affordable healthcare. This is reflected in the government budget allocations towards the healthcare expenses which are considerably enough. The two governments have also put in place rules that are aimed at protecting their citizens from being exploited by the health insurance and care providers like the Canadian Health Act that prohibits billing on procedures which have already been taken care of by the Medicare plan and the US government’s involvement in legislation and regulation of healthcare.

Least effective feature in provision of comprehensive healthcare to citizens in the two countries:

Coverage and access to medical care: access to healthcare in both countries can be a problem at times. About 40 % of American citizens are said to be without health insurance covers with those lucky to have one having limited insurance covers. In Canada, it is estimated that almost 5 % of its citizens are unable to have access to a regular doctor with another 9 % who have never sort assistance from doctors. Data from the US consumer report 2007 indicated that there was more than 24% of the population that had skeletal insurance covers that could not be able to take care of their healthcare needs leaving them with huge medical costs in cases of eventualities. Waiting times are also long in both systems whether for a major elective surgery, or specialized treatment. Waiting times in procedures like hip replacement and radiotherapy in cancers is greatly influenced by different factors such as: the patient’s access to funding for medical treatment, availability of services and the willingness to provide services by the provider at the insurer price. Also, the relative need of treatment is another factor in Canada apart from availability of services (Thompson, 2009).

Although both governments are committed to providing quality healthcare services to their citizens, both should come up with better policies that will make it easy to access these services and reduce waiting time.


Decker, S.L., Remler, D. K. (2004). How much might universal health insurance reduce socioeconomic disparities in health? A comparison of the US and Canada. Applied Health Economics and Health Policy, 3 (4), pp. 205-216.

Thompson, E. (June 3, 2009).”Wait times to see doctor are getting longer.” USA Today.

Esmail, N & Walker, M. (2005). “How good is Canadian Healthcare? 2005 Report.” Fraser Institute, Vancouver BC.

Woolhandler, S., Steffie W., M.D., M.P.H., Terry, C, M. H. A., & Himmelstein, U. D., M.D. (August 2003). “Costs of Healthcare Administration in the United States and Canada” New England Journal of Medicine 349 (8): 768.

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Similarities Between Canada And Us Healthcare
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