US’ Health Care System and the Canadian Healthy Care System Comparison

Before the 1960s and 1970s, the two countries in question had similar health care systems. However, between the years, the 1960s and 1970s Canada changed its system of health care from a per-capital basis to a public one. The states, therefore, have some similarities and differences in the way they operate in their health care systems in terms of finance, insurance cover, payments, their governance in relation to health care, and other various aspects of service delivery. The Canadian health care system proves to be better in some aspects as compared to that of the U.S. The United States, therefore, needs at least to adapt some of the Canadian ways of operation to improve their health care system since the cultural system in the two states is actually the same.


Analysts always make comparisons between the United States’ health care systems with the Canadian’s health care systems. According to the comparisons, the expenditure on health care is higher in the United States than in Canada. The health outcomes, in this case, may be superior in patients who are cared for in Canada as compared to the United States, though the differences observed are not consistent. For instance, the mortality rates in the two countries are different and therefore analysis should be carried out to determine the underlying causes of the disparities. The study, therefore, focuses on other component issues like finance, insurance cover, delivery of services and the payments made.

Literature Review

Comparison between the single-payer system in Canada and the private payer system in the United States shows that the single- payer system ends up doing a lot for less as compared to the multi-payer system in the U.S. In Canada, the government provides equal opportunities to its citizens in the health sector, which has greatly improved the mode of delivering its services hence reducing rates of infant mortality and longer life expectancy. In the United States, there is the employer-based insurance where employee’s cover is taken by the employer and for those who do not have jobs is left out uninsured and since it is based on a single-payer system, it, therefore, leaves other people not catered for in the health care section (Gratzer 2006).

The coverage rules and regulations of the U.S government also contribute to some individuals being uninsured. The census estimates in the U.S in the year 2007 showed that those people who earn an amount that can allow them to get their insurance coverage from the government are few and therefore the rest have to get the private cover. The analysis further proved that 2.7% of the population could not afford to get insurance cover (Wood 2008).

Delivery of services to the citizens in the U.S varies significantly in relation to the health care providers that they use. Due to the financial status of individuals and coverage of the citizens, there is always a problem in cost-effective treatment since many individuals especially those undercover at times go for drugs even when it is not necessary. There is also overutilization of services in some health care especially for those paying the charges by themselves. To some extent, those undercover receive quality services in time hence maintaining their health compared with those without cover who try to take preventive measures hence the prolonged duration of diagnosis even for the easily cured illnesses, which later leads to complicated and more expensive procedures. These components, therefore, vary in the two countries and this creates different impacts on their health care systems (Wood 2008).

Components of Healthy Care Services


Many registered separate entities in the United States provide health care services. The private sector provides and owns the largest percentage of the health services while the government under Health insurance provides the lesser percentage. Canada on the other hand is single-payer where the government provides health care services. Private sectors are also allowed to operate within the country but under tight rules and regulations, as the government sets limits for them such that they do not operate in some regions within the state (Shi and Singha 2009).

The mode of financing in Canada is of more help to the citizens as every individual receives the services when in need and in real-time. This is in comparison with the United States where some individuals are unable to receive the services in time due to financial constraints especially for those who are not able to take the government or the private insurance cover for their health care (Ake 2002).

This has therefore been the reason why there are high rates of infant deaths in the U.S as compared to Canada and longer life expectancy in Canada in comparison to that of the U.S. On the other hand, this system has also contributed to the quality of services offered in the two countries. In the U.S, health care services are of higher quality compared to those ones in Canada due to the competition in the market by the private health care sectors unlike in Canada where there is no competition (Trovato 2001).


In Canada, all citizens are entitled to equal health care services since the government provides the services. On the contrary, the United States’ citizens pay for their services hence the variation in the services delivered to citizens. This has therefore created a great impact on the health care of the United States especially for those who do not have any insurance cover developing complications on illnesses that could have been cured easily and at a cheaper cost as they will always want to save the little, they earn. This system has an impact on the professional sector, as doctors in Canada would want to go and work in the U.S due to higher payments for doctors and nurses in the U.S (Gratzer 2006).


In Canada, each individual is undercover, as the government is the one to cater for the expense incurred in the health care system unlike in the U.S where health insurance from the government is only for a few people who earn a high income. The private insurance cover is also for those with jobs hence leaving the jobless uninsured (Wood 2008).


In both countries, there is a concern in delivering the services. The way specialists attend to their clients is not pleasing as patients usually wait for a long time before being attended. In the U.S, services are delayed under various circumstances such as if one is not able to pay for services and if the price set by the company meets that of the provider of the service (Travato 2001).


The health care systems provided in the two countries differ to some extent but are also similar at other levels in their operation. However, the way they operate is evident that each country needs to modify their services in order to offer the best health care services for their citizens.


The government of the U.S needs to introduce cost-sharing in the policy of insurance cover to do away with cases of patients going for drugs when not sick hence cutting down the costs. The government should also ensure that all citizens are insured to reduce the costs on patients who end up spending a lot on treatment. In addition, it should introduce health care services under legal private sectors to bring about competition, which would lead to quality services.


Ake, B. (2002). Canadian healthy care in global context. diagnoses and prescriptions. Toronto: CD Howe Institute.

Gratzer, D. (2006). The cure: how capitalism can save American health care. New York: Encounter Books.

Shi, L. and Singha, D. (2009). Essentials of the U.S health care system, (2nd edition). New York: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.

Travato, F. (2001). Aboriginal mortality in Canada, the United States and New Zealand. Journal of Biosocial Science, 33(1): 67-86.

Wood, R. (2008). High and rising health care costs: demystifying U.S health care spending. New York: Johnson Foundation.

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