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Introduction

The health care system in the United States has been a subject of criticism in terms of its effectiveness in the delivery. Arguably, the Canadian health care system model best suits the United States health care requirements. The United States and Canada had similar health care systems before the Canada opted to reform its health care policies during the 1960s and 70s. Presently, the health care systems in the two countries are quite different, with the Canadian health care system consisting of a single payer, which is majorly publicly funded (Busby, 2011). The health care system in the United States is a multi-payer system, which is mostly privately funded. The cultural orientations of both countries are somewhat similar which implies that the effective Canadian health care system can be applied in the US and yield similar results. This essay attempts to compare the health care systems in the United States and Canada basing on access and coverage, cost, quality and continuity.

In terms of access to health care and coverage, the Canadian health care system is more efficient compared to the US health care system. This can be attributed to the fact that Canada offers universal health care access to its citizens, contrary to the US. Furthermore, it is revealed that approximately 40 per cent of the United States citizens do not have access to health care insurance schemes. Studies further depict that one out of every five non-elderly US citizens are not insured in terms of health care, considering the fact that the US health care system is mostly privately funded. It is evident that the federal government of the US has no provisions for universal access to health care, contrary to the Canadian health care plans whereby the Canadian government assures its citizens of universal access to health care and associated facilities (National Bureau of Economic Research, 2011). Although access to health care system in both countries is still problematic, the worst-case scenario is in the US. The publicly funded health care plans in the US account for a small percentage of the US population, mostly being the disabled persons, individuals below the federal poverty line and the children. The limitation is that the publicly funded healthcare schemes can not cater for serious health conditions and ailments.  

Majority of Canada's health care systems are publicly funded, accounting to approximately 70 per cent; this plays a prominent deal in ensuring universal access to health plans in Canada. Approximately 90 percent of the healthcare expenditure in Canada is publicly funded. Although the governments of both countries are closely involved in the healthcare plans, the key difference is in terms of healthcare insurance pans. The Canadian government is fully responsible for the regulation of the healthcare insurance plans. In addition, it has provisions for offering support in terms of healthcare expenditures. The Canadian healthcare system also provides a public coverage in the private health care delivery. In the US, Medicaid, Medicare and the State Children Health Insurance Program are the only programs which are publicly funded (SCHIP).

In terms of cost, the federal government of the US invests more funds in the healthcare sector compared to Canada, in terms of per capita and on the basis of Gross Domestic Product. As a result of public funding of the health care system in Canada, health care costs in Canada are catered for through business and personal tax collections that are paid to the provincial governments and the federal government (National Bureau of Economic Research, 2011). Premium payments are also used to settle healthcare expenses for individuals who are financially capable of subscribing to the premium contributions. Research studies investigating the correlation between the health care status and the levels of the personal income in individuals, in the two countries; have revealed that the health income-gradient seems to be more predominant in Canada compared to the United States probably due to relatively low costs of accessing health care in Canada. The high involvement of the private sector in the healthcare sector and the lack of regulation of the healthcare insurance sector in the US have made accessing healthcare services be more costly in the US than in Canada.

In terms of the quality of the healthcare system, Canadians are reported to be healthier compared to the US citizens. Health statistics depict that parameters such as life expectancy, infant mortality and death rate are in favor of the outcome of the Canadian healthcare system (Krauss, 2010). It can be inferred that the healthcare system of Canada is more effective in terms of quality and delivery compared to the US healthcare system prior to the new health care laws. Studies have indicated that health outcomes in relation to Canadian patients is superior compared to US; this implies that the quality of healthcare in Canada is high compared to US. The healthcare quality is also determined by factors such as wait times and equitable distribution of health resources. The wait times in the US is longer compared to the wait times in the Canadian healthcare facilities. The availability of healthcare facilities is determined by the distribution of resources among the health care facilities. In the US, there is no equitable distribution of resources in the healthcare facilities, contrary to Canada (Krauss, 2010).

Conclusion

Basing on the above comparisons, it is arguably evident that the multi-payer health care system in the US which is dominated by the private sector is not as effective as the single-payer healthcare system in Canada, which is essentially publicly funded.

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