Paper on Comparing US & Canadian Healthcare Systems: A Look at GDP Expenditures

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1804 Words
Date:  2023-10-27


The U. S healthcare system is often compared to that of other states in the world, and a country that comes first during this kind of comparison is Canada. The Canadian system is different from that of U.S, and the two systems are unique in their different ways. In 2016 U.S. recorded high Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on health of around 17. 8% compared to Canada's expenditure around 10.4% (Marchildon, 2013). Canada system of offering universal healthcare to citizens is different to the U.S. model. Canada uses a single-payer system that is publicly funded, whereas the U.S. applies a multi-payer system that is highly private. The U.S system does not cover all the citizens and this leaves some in vulnerable conditions. This paper proposes that America should adopt the Canadian healthcare system, considering issues such as, the healthcare system, public policy and accessibility, cost of healthcare, and healthcare outcomes.

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Canadian Healthcare System

Canada has established a publically-funded Medicare system where the private sector provides most of the services. Canada uses a single-payer system where the private sector offers the functions as the government pays the fee at the same rate to that of other doctors (Marchildon, 2013). The government reimburses doctors based on agreed terms. The system makes it easier for Canadian citizens to access healthcare services from any hospital, regardless of whether it is private. Every Canadian province runs its system with financial provisions from the federal government and the rest of financing from provisional budgets. The federal government sets the legal frameworks and minimum standards that all the states are supposed to adhere to. The healthcare is universally provided for all citizens regardless of their class status.

The Canadian government uses a system known as the National Health Insurance system (NHI) (Marchildon, 2013). The system covers the entire Canadian population to ensure that everyone receives Medicare. It operates at a regional level, and it is uniform across all parts of Canada. There are no charges for healthcare provision in Canada. Almost all the essential services can be accessed in the hospitals. The Canadian government often modifies its healthcare policies to ensure that it matches emerging demands and adheres to the "universal" standards. The Canadian Medicare system covers around 97% of the Canadian population, whereas the rest of the citizens get their services through other governmental healthcare systems (Marchildon, 2013). Canada ensures that all citizens can get any medical attention when there are in need. Citizens do not have to worry about funding the expensive medical care because the government has them covered.

American Healthcare System

Unlike Canada, the U.S uses a multi-payer system where the citizens have to cover their medical costs through insurance programs (Starfield, 2010). The insurance companies pay the healthcare providers for the provision of their services. Therefore, citizens need to have medical insurance covers so that they can access all the health services they require. The insurers compete for customers just in the same way all insurance programs do for clients. Usually, employers pay for insurance covers for their employees based on coverage agreements between the two parties. The people who face the most severe consequences are the unemployed who cannot afford to pay for their covers, and they do not have people to stand in for them and help out with the challenges.

U.S has a health coverage system known as Medicaid that provides health coverage to those who are extremely poor and cannot afford to cater to the medication (Starfield, 2010). Each state his free to set its limits, and some set the limits extremely low. The disparities and lack of uniform standards leave many Americans unattended for especially the most vulnerable groups such as the elderly. The American health system differs from the Canadian in that it provides universal health care to all citizens regardless of their status. Contrary, in the American healthcare system, the citizens cannot get help from anywhere else. There are just some lucky individuals who get opportunities to be covered by governmental programs such as Obamacare (Starfield, 2010). Therefore, Canada has a well-established healthcare system compared to that of the U.S.

Canadian Public Policy and Access to Health Care

The government being the custodian of the citizens' health, is supposed to devise policies that ensure all citizens, regardless of their economic status, can lead healthy lives. The Canadian government takes part in all policy formulations on health issues, including financing, supervising, regulating, and subsidizing medical care (Aims Education, 2018). The state is aware that citizen's health is paramount, and everyone is entitled to medical care regardless of their economic position. Governmental intervention in policy formulation through the single-payer system ensures that all Canadians can receive primary health care. Citizens carry medical care cards that allow them to access services, and then the federal government covers the costs according to the policy provisions.

Canadian health act has guidelines that guide provinces in the execution of their duties. The federal governments create guidelines that each region is supposed to adhere to in the provision of health. The federal government allocates money to the states that they are supposed to use to extend medical services to the citizens. The government gets the money through taxation. Estimates show that every Canadian contributes around $5789 annually for universally health care provision (Aims Education, 2018). Arguably the government gets the money it uses to provide Medicare for its citizens through taxations. It may be a considerable burden to the taxpayers, but all citizens get assured of reasonable health care. All people can go to the hospital and get treated equally; this is different from a multi-payer system where the richest get the best services. Government intervention and policies ensure that all Canadians can access universal healthcare. Therefore, the government attains its mandate by ensuring that it enhances uniformity and ensures all states adhere to federal government provisions on health.

U.S. Public Policy and Access to Health Care

Contrary, the U.S. remains one of the developed nations that have failed to provide universal healthcare for its citizens (Aims Education, 2018). U.S. has not initiated proper health policies that ensure all citizens can attain medical care regardless of their economic status. The multi-payer system adopted by the U.S. leaves many groups under challenging conditions. Many American citizens are on their own; they have to figure out how to tackle health challenges individually. Up to date, millions of Americans remain uninsured. The issue of insurance cover is critical in the U.S. because it is the best universal principle through which citizens can access health care services. Americans operate under different insurance systems.

The private medical insurance covers around 67.5% of the American population; this gets partly covered by the employers (Aims Education, 2018). There are some private medical insurance companies, including Care Service Corporation and Humana. Private medical insurance covers cater to the majority of the Americans; however, there are some other alternatives for the unemployed Americans who cannot access these services. America has a Medicaid program that provides cover for the most vulnerable groups such as the elderly, children, pregnant women, and the disabled. In 2017 Medicaid covered around 68 million Americans. It is an excellent program that includes state to state to ensure that individuals limited by their conditions are not left out when it comes to health provision. America has a Medicare system that helps cover individuals above 65 years and above their retirement age, individuals with end-stage renal disease, and young disabled individuals (Aims Education, 2018).

In 2010 America introduced the Affordable Care Act (ACA) 'Obamacare' that extends medical cover to poor Americans (Aims Education, 2018). The policy allows states to extend Medicaid coverage to any adults below the federal poverty line of 138% (Aims Education, 2018). However, not all states are willing to comply with this. Obamacare has created subsidies known as the premium tax credits that allow people with income between 100% to 400% above federal poverty levels to have household incomes (Aims Education, 2018). These efforts ensure that individuals who could afford healthcare services can have them.

The ACA also allows citizens to access certain services such as preventive healthcare. The U. S federal government has devised these plans to extend health coverage to all citizens. However, the efforts look fruitless, considering that millions of Americans are still unable to access essential healthcare services. The multi-payer system jeopardizes the chances of Americans getting health services regardless of the efforts put in place by the government to see things work out. Therefore, Canadian universal health care enhances easy access to health services compared to the U.S. system.

Canada on the Cost of Healthcare

The involvement and support of the Canadian government make medical care affordable to all citizens. The Canadians do not feel the hefty hospital bills because the cost is shared equitably amongst all the citizens through taxation (Hunter College, 2020). The Canadian government has financial containment measures to ensure that hospital bills do not rise above the manageable margins. Government intervention helps stabilize medication costs through reimbursement of the private doctors. The public does not have to pay the burden of paying doctors on their own like in a multi-payer system.

Prescription drugs in Canada are relatively cheaper compared to U.S. Canada does not support policies that can result in shortages in the supply of prescription drugs. During the COVID-19 crisis, nations need to have a regular supply of drugs and equipment (Hunter College, 2020). Canada maintains good working relations with foreign states to ensure that it does not run short of the necessities. A country cannot perform excellently on its own, especially in the medical fraternity. Canada allows in drugs from other states to compete with the local manufacturers to stabilize the medication costs.

Many people argue that Canadian healthcare is not as free as people claims because citizens pay the cost through taxation. However, credits should be given where due, although citizens carry the burden through tax, a lot of people can get medical services that they could otherwise not get. All the Canadians are attended equally in the hospitals because there is a system that makes things run. Canadian approach to healthcare provision is excellent. After all, even if people pay, they do not feel the burden because they do not do it directly. It is like any other form of tax; citizens do not concentrate on the amounts they pay in taxes because they do not instantly feel the impacts.

U.S. on the Cost of Healthcare

The cost of administering health care in the U.S. costs four times more than that of Canada (Hunter College, 2020). The multi-payer system used in the U.S. compromises the affordability of medical care. The wealthy access better medical care compared to those who do not have. Americans attend to hospitals according to their potentials. A large percentage of Americans still cannot afford primary healthcare. In 2018 the U.S. had one of the costliest healthcare systems.

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Paper on Comparing US & Canadian Healthcare Systems: A Look at GDP Expenditures. (2023, Oct 27). Retrieved from

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