Health care System vs. Canada
The U.S. system of health care is believed to be the most sophisticated and advanced in the world. Yet, in recent years health care in the United States has become a matter of top public concern…
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In both countries, the process of health care development was neither linear nor smooth (Boychuk, 2005; Cunningham, 2003). The two neighboring countries, Canada and the United States have created health care systems that are very distinct. Kovner, Knickman and Jonas (2008) write that the system of health care delivery in the U.S. works along two different lines: one which helps to keep people healthy and another one comprising activities directed at dealing with health issues, once they occur. In its current state, the system of care delivery in American health care is characterized by (1) the growing role of institutions and medical professionals, (2) dramatic advances in medical technologies and electronic communications, (3) the existing tensions between big business and caring for patients, and (4) dysfunctional payment and financing. The latter, according to Kovner et al (2008) means that the U.S. system of health care is extremely expensive to maintain, and that insurance makes the system of payments to hospitals physicians extremely complex. The financing mix of U.S. health care looks as follows: 28% in direct taxes, 7.4% in indirect taxes, 35.5% in general taxes, 13.3% in social insurance, with private insurance and direct payments making up the rest (Wagstaff & Doorslaer, 1998). Unlike the United States, Canada gives its clinicians unprecedented autonomy in where they want to work and what set of medical services they are willing to deliver (Deber, 2003). A single-payer system, Canadian health care has been particularly successful in reducing its administrative costs (Woolhandler, Campbell & Himmelstein, 2003). Where the United States health care operates as a combination of public and private insurance options (Jensen et al,...
health care. Recent advances in the Canadian system of health care can teach the United States a good lesson of economy and efficiency at a national scale.
The current state of literature provides abundant information about health care progress in the United States. According to Cunningham (2003), the history of U.S. health care dates back to the end of the 19th century, when acute infections, the lack of medical technologies and social organization urged the creation of a national system of health care. The U.S. health care emerged in response to broad health challenges in 19th century America. By contrast, the evolution of the health care system in Canada was a logical process initiated by the earliest policy developments and propositions in Saskatchewan (Boychuk, 2005). In both countries, the process of health care development was neither linear nor smooth (Boychuk, 2005; Cunningham, 2003). The two neighboring countries, Canada and the United States have created health care systems that are very distinct.
The American and Canadian systems of health care are equally different and alike. Advanced and sophisticated, both systems rely on the principles of efficiency and quality care. However, in distinction from the U.S., Canada pursues a rigid distinction between private and public health care.
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