The American Healthcare System – Learning From Canadian Healthcare

    When comparing the healthcare systems of both the US and Canada, the Canadian healthcare has a reputation that’s pretty highly regarded. The healthcare system in Canada is in-fact a national pride, as it is known for being a model of universal health coverage across the globe. For several reasons, the American healthcare system has room for improvement and it has been suggested in many local reformation debates that the US should adopt the healthcare system  similar to the one of Canada. This however will be difficult, as the Americans and the Canadians share differences in beliefs, outlook, legal structures and more.  

    This of course  doesn’t mean there’s nothing for Americans to draw from the current Canadian healthcare system, so let’s look at some of what can be derived. Here is a comparison of both healthcare systems. 

    A Comparison Of The American And The Canadian Healthcare Systems

    One of the most obvious reasons the Canadian healthcare system is well regarded is the fact that the Canadian system provides more for only a little. In Canada, health spending contributes to over 10% of the GDP and provides primary health care services for each citizen, compared to the 17.8 % spent by the United States, which can’t afford full coverage for its citizens. 

    More so, the higher percentage of GDP spent on health coverage in the US does not account for the high cost of healthcare. This high cost of health is a result of the ‘multi-payer’ system (a health system that is financed through more than a single entity) adopted by the United States. Canadian healthcare operates a ‘single-payer’ (a health system that is financed through a single entity) system whereby universal coverage is publicly provided to all 13 territories of Canada.

    However, the multiplayer system of the US works by the division of healthcare services between the private sector and the public sector. This system of administration is considered displeasing as it makes healthcare in the US very expensive. The maintenance of the health information of citizens is costly. Expenses also result from the private health insurance of citizens.

    Can The US Learn From The Canadian Health Care?

    The healthcare system in Canada has achieved a feat, no doubt, in the provision of universal health coverage for all its citizens. There are, however, cons to its system, which includes the long waiting time patients with non-pressing and urgent conditions have to wait. The inconvenience is not often considered, as a cheap and easily accessed healthcare yields better health results to a nation. This achievement places the Canadian healthcare as a model to developed countries and lays down examples from which these countries can learn from.

    What Lessons Can The Canadian Healthcare Teach Americans?

    Lessons to be learned from Canadian healthcare are those that will enable US citizens to gain easy access to primary health care at a very affordable cost. Some of the lessons to pick from the Canadian health care include:

    • National value for health care -For every Canadian, health care is accessible and part of their national identity and values. Canadians consider health to be of utmost value. This explains why the man labeled the “greatest Canadian of all time” was the person who introduced universal health coverage to the country. Universal health coverage is successful in Canada due to the high value of the citizens’ accord health. For the health system of the United States to be successful, there should also be a high national value placed officially on health. And once this is the major goal of the country, reformation will be forced to follow suit
    • Building on the single-payer system – the single-payer system has prevented a lot of disadvantages to the Canadians, which are now faced by the US. The single-payer system ensures that insurance for all necessary health services to be covered by the federal government. All 13 provinces of Canada operate different health systems, yet they are all required to provide universal health coverage to their population through the publicly funded health insurance known as the single-payer system. The US, on the other hand, renders costly health services and places the health information of citizens at risk with the multi-payer system. And for this reason, the single-payer system is an example to be learnt from


    The healthcare systems of both countries are clearly different. But from the examples of the Canadian system, lessons can be drawn.  If the United States can also build on the single-payer system, a lot can improve.


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