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Health Care Delivery System - Case Study Example

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The health care systems from Canada and the US have been constantly assessed comparatively, with analysts traditionally favoring the Canadian model as being more efficient. However, the literature review shows that the two systems have both advantages and limitations, all of which have to be further analyzed and addressed…
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Health Care Delivery System
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The health care systems from Canada and the US have been constantly assessed comparatively, with analysts traditionally favoring the Canadian model as being more efficient. However, the literature review shows that the two systems have both advantages and limitations, all of which have to be further analyzed and addressed. The model trend in the U.S. health care revolves around a majority private system with residual public service, like Medicare and Medicaid. Hence the American approach to health care is market oriented. Both organizations and individuals in the U.S. health care system are faced with a challenging situation. First of all, the requirement for high quality care, doubled by the social responsibility to patients, is counterbalanced by an increasing pressure to lower costs and to remain afloat financially. The Canadian model, on the other hand, is designed as public service, with health care provided considering medical needs first, and the ability to pay later. This, however, leads to high health costs supported by the government and to a lower quality and efficiency of services. The present paper will compare and contrast the two systems at four different levels: access, cost, quality and continuity.
As far as access is concerned, there are fundamental differences between the two models. The health care system in Canada is characterized by universal access, with all residents being entitled to insured health services. In the US, by contrast, access is determined by the extent and type of the coverage, with no universal pubic health insurance plan (Madore, 1992). The two completely different approaches lead to major differences in coverage: whereas in Canada everybody benefits from the public health insurance, in the United States more than 10% of the population isn't covered at all.
In the matter of costs, both countries allocate significant proportions of their income to health care. There are, however, differences in these proportions, reflecting on one hand demographic differences, and, on the other, suggesting that the United States model requires more financial resources. The estimates indicate that Canada devotes approximately 9% of GDP to health care (amounting up to more that 60$ billion dollars), while the US spends around 12% of GDP (totaling over 660$ billion dollars) (Madore, 1992). When assessing these figures, one has to keep in mind the fact that, in the US health system, public spending covers less than 50% of total costs. Analyzing the matter more in-depth, it can be asserted that the United States invests more financial resource in technology compared to Canada, and, at the same time, drugs costs are much lower in Canada.
Furthermore, the previously mentioned traits of the two health care system have repercussions on the quality of services in each of them. Favoring price or non-price rationing of services directly impacts on waiting times, emphasizing a higher efficiency level of the United States health care system. Addressing the issue of quality, however, other aspects have to be taken into consideration. The number of per capita doctors is significantly lower in Canada (2.2 compared to 2.4 in the US) due to poorer retribution levels, but life expectancy is longer in Canada (in 2006 - 79.9 years compared to 77.5 years in the US).
Given the public orientation of health care in Canada, continuity is guaranteed by the design of the medical system. By contrast, in the United States, loosing insurance is a threat for many, ranging from situations of part-time employment to organizational failures in guaranteeing health insurance to employees. This situation can potentially create anxiety and stress, hence reform initiatives should be focused on addressing this issue.
Considering the facts, it can be inferred that the Canadian health care system offers a good balance between access, quality and cost, having however poorer outcomes as far as quality is concerned, while the American model is more focused on quality, but it needs to work on making the system more inclusive and cost-effective. Last but not least, the reforms needed in both health care systems impact also the customers of medical organizations, who will be forced to take more responsibility into their hands and actively take part in a change of paradigm aimed at setting the bases for a better managed system.
Madore, O. (1992). The Canadian and American Health Care Systems. Retrieved 10/30/2007 from Read More
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