Free Essay Sample «Comparison of Healthcare Systems »

«Comparison of Healthcare Systems »

Comparison of the U.S. Healthcare System with that of Canada

The healthcare system in the U.S. has been a subject of great criticism expressed by different people around the U.S. and the world. The system is often blamed for being very expensive but ineffective in terms of delivery. However, its northern neighbor, Canada, has one of the most respected healthcare systems in the world. Canada reformed its healthcare system in the 1960s and 1970s, prior to that the two countries had similar healthcare systems. Currently, while there are several players in the healthcare system in the U.S., Canada has a single player which is mostly publicly funded (Bernard, n.d). This paper will attempt to compare the healthcare systems of the two countries, considering its cost, quality, accessibility and duration.


Considering the cost, the US federal government has invested more in the health sector than Canada in terms of their respective GDPs. In Canada, however, funding is realized through public investment, including business and personal taxes paid to the federal government. For people who are financially able are subscribed to the premium contributors. In the US, the involvement of the private sector in health care and lack of proper regulation has led to the health care services becoming more costly in access in comparison to that in Canada. Research has indicated that as a result of the high cost of health in the US, the health income-gradient is more popular in Canada than in the US (National Bureau of Economic Research, 2012).

Access to Health

The Canadian model is more efficient in terms of its accessibility than that of the U.S. This is because Canada offers universal health access unlike the US. Reports also indicate that about 40% of the US citizens do not have access to the country’s health care schemes. It is also true that 20% of non-elderly US citizens have no insurance cover. The reason is that the US health care system is mostly privately funded that makes it quite expensive for some citizens. In Canada, the government has provisions for universal access to health, which is not true about the US (National Bureau of Economic Research, 2012).

In Canada, 90% of its healthcare system is publicly funded, thus the universal access to health care is enabled. As a result, Canadian government regulates insurance plans with provisions of securing support for healthcare expenditures. Contrasted with the US system, Medicaid, Medicare and the SCHIP are the only government plans while a majority remains in hands of the private sector (SCHIP information center).

Quality of the Healthcare System

In terms of quality, the Canadian system is said to be superior to that of the U.S. As a result, Canadians are reported to be healthier than their US counterparts. According to Bernard (n.d), Canadians have high life expectancy, low infant mortality rates and death rates as compared to their neighbors from the U.S. This can only mean that the healthcare system in the Canada is more effective than that in the U.S in terms of delivery and accessibility (before Obamacare). Studies have also indicated that health outcomes in the two countries favor Canada not U.S. Moreover, the time spent in queues is less durable in Canada than in the U.S. Canada is proud of an equitable distribution of resources among health care centers which the US is not  (Bernard, n.d.). 


Based on the above mentioned arguments, it is evident that the Canadian healthcare model is more efficient, less costly as compared to the U.S. one. The U.S has multiple private players who make the system cumbersome, especially for those who cannot afford their services. In Canada, however, services are deemed efficient due to the involvement of the government by means of public funding.



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