Comparison Of Canada’s And America’s Health Care Term Paper Sample
Health care system denotes complex of trained individuals, organizations, as well as facilities responsible for offering health care in a defined geographical parameter (Austin & Wetle, 2012). Due to chronic diseases such as cancer and other ailments, counties have advanced their health systems to manage such diseases. In rating the health care of any country, various factors are considered. For example, the availability of the resources required in the health sector must be considered. Most developed countries like Canada and America have incorporated high levels of technology in their health care systems (Austin & Wetle, 2012).
The second factor considered is the equal distribution of these resources. Having the effective resources is not enough; they have to be equitably distributed throughout the country to address the citizen's needs in all parts of the country. Other factors considered include the wait times, unmet needs for health services, payer systems, as well as the cost of health care services. The level of chronic diseases, cross-border health care, and the level of satisfaction according to the patients (Shi & Singh, 2013). Analysis of these factors in Canada and United States of America help compare the health care systems of the two countries.
US is considered among the nations that spend a large portion of their incomes on improving the health care, spending more than $8,508 on health care (Shi & Singh, 2013). In USA, the government provides most of the medical expenses and equipment. This is the reason USA government contributes a large proportion of its budget on health care than Canada. United States has a multi-payer and a heavily private health system (Austin & Wetle, 2012). In US, the public pays for the medical services through cash or insurance covers.
On the other hand, Canada uses a single-payer system, funded by the public. It is believed that there are better health services in single-payer health systems than in multi-payer systems, though no evidence has been availed. In Canada, the public funds the health care system but the private enterprises provide the services (Fierlbeck, 2011). The doctors are self-employed, and the patients are free to choose the doctor they want to attend to them. The doctors are also free to decide the hours they want to work and they earn by billing the provincials governments. The three major participants in this sector include the federal government, the ten provinces, and the three territories. The health care system is managed through the Canada Health Act (CHA), which sets and administers national principles for the health care system (Fierlbeck, 2011).
Cost of Health Care Services
Provision of medical services within US is characterized by high costs, which have not been affordable to the low-income earners. Low-income earners end up skipping the needed care and miss the required tests required due to lack of adequate funds. On the contrary, Canada has a provincially based medical care, which is cheaper due to the simple administration. It has been beneficial to the people or patients since they can access the services at lower prices (Thompson, 2010). Nevertheless, the Act does not cover the drugs, home care, or dental care for the patients. It means that the patients have to use their cash or money to pay for such services. The private sector also contributes about 27.6% of the country's healthcare costs, which caters for the expenses, which are not catered for by the Medicare (Fierlbeck, 2011). It is significant to mention that there are claims that privatization can lead to inequalities in the health system, where only the financially stable can afford to pay for the services.
Availability of Health Care Resources
Considering the availability of resources, the use of cancer screenings is more frequent in the United States. Patients with the five types of cancer, except cervical cancer, can receive adequate treatment from most hospitals across the country. Diabetics can receive and meet treatment targets in the United States than in Canada (Niles, 2015). This is evidenced by the lower mortality rate due to cancer or diabetes in the country, which is an indicator that fewer people are dying from cancer or diabetes. This suggests that the country has been successful in detecting and treating cancer or diabetes. High mortality rates are due to the high rates of accidents and homicides (Niles, 2015).
In addition, the country has been ranked among the top 10 medical innovators across the world (Austin & Wetle, 2012). America has invested in biotechnology, which has contributed to the effectiveness of the medical equipments, thus, improving the quality of the medical services. Nevertheless, to advance the overall standard or quality of medical services, United States should invest in many other sectors. This should not be in terms of equipments only, factors such as payment systems, and team approach to certain diseases also need improvement. With such advances, United States will solve most of its challenges, thus take a big step towards improving the quality of its health care system as a country (Niles, 2015).
Canada is also among the countries with adequate facilities, though lower than United States. For instance, cases of cancer screenings are high in the country due to the available resources. However, not all the cancers can be handled in the country, which has posed a challenge to the health sector. The level of technology in the country is not as high as that of the United States. This is the reason for the lack of the advanced equipment in the health sector compared to that of the United States. The US administration has adopted different strategies to ensure that such facilities are available to improve the health services offered to the people (Thompson, 2010).
Waiting Times and Unmet Needs
Regarding the wait times and unmet needs, United States has lower wait times compared to the wait times in Canada. Most of the patients take a shorter time to consult specialists and have non-emergency surgeries in the United States than in Canada (Shi & Singh, 2013). However, unmet needs are high in the USA in comparison to Canada. This is attributable to the high expense or cost of health services in various health institutions across the country. Majority of the citizens earn low-income and are, for that reason, unable to afford the expensive services. They end up going back home without getting the medical attention they direly need due to lack of money (Shi & Singh, 2013).
Contrastingly, waiting times are longer in Canada than in the United States. There are fewer nurses and physicians in Canada than in the United States. They work for long hours without rest to serve the large number of patients in various hospitals across the country. For that justification, the patients must wait for a longer time before they are attended (Thompson, 2010). Most of the patients have cited longer waiting times as the reason for the unmet needs in Canada, and the only way to solve this is by employing more personnel and purchasing better equipments. This will reduce the time patients take to be attended to, thus, reducing the level of unmet needs (Thompson, 2010).
Although very serious and life-threatening cases are handled immediately in Canada, some of the services delay and most patients wait for a given period before being attended. Findings of a study carried out by the health sector indicate that an individual has to wait for over four weeks to see a physician for some health conditions. In addition, patients take two weeks for diagnostic services such as CAT scans, and four weeks for a non-urgent surgery (Thompson, 2010). It has been one of the unaddressed health challenges people experience, although the Government of Canada is putting effort to ensure the patients take shorter durations, waiting for medical services.
Equity in Location of Resources
In United States, hospitals and doctors are only located in the wealthier areas in the country. This is something the administration of President Obama has tried to address though still being practiced. Most doctors only rush to work in the private hospital where they can earn high incomes. This has resulted in poor medical services within a number of public hospitals (Austin & Wetle, 2012). The poor, who cannot access the private hospitals, have been affected. This can only be solved by expanding insurance so that those who are not covered may be insured to access any medical service. The government has come up with the affordable care act where the middle and the low- income earners are now can obtain coverage through financial assistance. This helps in reducing the expenses they incur in accessing quality medical services. In addition, it assists in addressing the issue of disparities in access to services (Niles, 2015).
Similarly, there is no equitable distribution of health care resources in the Canada. Funded health care is not provided equally in all parts of the country. There is variation across the provinces (Fierlbeck, 2011). This is as evidenced by analysis of the correlation in individuals’ income and the personal health status (Fierlbeck, 2011). Most underprivileged or poor people cannot access quality services due to their low levels of incomes. This has deprived them the opportunity to access better health care. Resources should be equally distributed in most of the hospitals, and the costs of such services should be reduced to enable the poor access them. This will enhance equality throughout the country (Thompson, 2010).
Level of Chronic Diseases and Life Expectancy Rates
In the united states, the level of chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, heart diseases, and asthma are high (Austin & Wetle, 2012). Most of the people suffer from these diseases or ailments because of various reasons such as allergy; exposure to cold, harmful chemicals released into the air in industrial areas. Nevertheless, the patients receive treatment due to the availability of the resources that are required in the treatment of such illnesses.
On the contrary, in Canada the level of chronic diseases, such as high blood pressure, heart diseases, and asthma are relatively low. This may be attributable to the better facilities that the country enjoys, the continuous education, and campaigns carried out by the health sector. The campaigns are to educate the citizens on the various ways to prevent such diseases (Thompson, 2010). Besides, the administration of the day has taken the responsibility to give adequate special care to the patients suffering from such diseases. This is evident from few cases of deaths registered from such illnesses.
Statistics shows that life expectancy is lower in the United States in comparison to Canada (Austin & Wetle, 2012). This is evidenced by registration of the high number of people who die in USA as a result of accidents, abortions, heart and lung diseases. In addition, there are high cases of sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV/AIDS, and disabilities (Austin & Wetle, 2012). On the contrary, in Canada life expectancy is higher compared to that of United States. This can be attributable to the continuous education and campaigns by the government against HIV/AIDS and other diseases (Fierlbeck, 2011).
Cross Border Health Care
The number of patients that cross over from the United States to Canada for various health issues are few. This is due to the perception that United States is one of the countries with the best medical services and facilities. The patients who cross over to Canada cater for their medical expenses, through cash or using their insurance covers. The Canadian healthcare system is also characterized by cross-border health care, where the patients cross over to the United States to get medical attention (Fierlbeck, 2011). This may be due to matters of confidentiality such as abortion, mental illnesses, or substance abuse. Although the services are free since the Canadian government pays them, most of the citizens have declined it or do not seek medication from USA. This is due to the long waiting periods that such services take before they are delivered (Thompson, 2010).
Level of Satisfaction
Reports or information collected from the patients in the United States indicates that the level of satisfaction is very high (Austin & Wetle, 2012). Most of the patients have admitted that despite the challenges faced by the country, they receive the various medical services they need from health institutions and leave the hospitals contented (Austin & Wetle, 2012). Nevertheless, in Canada most of the patients have continuously complained of the long waiting lines and lack of adequate personnel in various sectors. This is something attributable to the few nurses and physicians in the hospitals (Fierlbeck, 2011). This is an indication that although the government is trying to provide the required health services to the public, most of them leave the hospitals unsatisfied (Fierlbeck, 2011).
Comparing the health care in the two countries brings out the disparities in various aspects of their systems. Health care system of United States is revealed as characterized by high number of nurses, high per capita expenditure, high costs of health care. A higher percentage of government expenditure on health, low life expectancy, elevated infant death rates, as well as higher number of physicians (Thompson, 2010). On the contrary, health care system of Canada is revealed as having fewer nurses, lower per capita expenditure, lower costs of health care. A lower percentage of government expenditure on health, high life expectancy, lower infant mortality rates, and fewer physicians. Major health problems faced by these countries are due to the variables discussed. For example, long waiting periods in Canada are due to the few nurses and doctors in various hospitals across the country (Thompson, 2010).
These governments can only make their health systems better by adjusting these factors. This may be by employing more physicians and nurses into the health sector. This helps reduce the waiting times and reduce the level of unmet needs. Helping the poor get health insurance covers is another solution to the problem of unequal access to health services. This enables all citizens access the health care services, regardless one’s economic status or the charges required (Thompson, 2010).
In summary, USA and Canada should implement necessary transformation within their health care systems to address the challenges that are common to health care systems. Improving the level of technology in the medical sector through innovation is appropriate as it leads to improved health care and addresses disparities. The governments of these two nations should also ensure that health facilities are equitably distributed and can be accessed by all the citizens, whether poor or rich. Such adjustments can eventually lead to improved healthcare services in these countries.
Austin, A. & Wetle, V. (2012). The United States health care system: combining business, health, and delivery. Upper Saddle River, N.J: Pearson.
Fierlbeck, K. (2011). Health care in Canada a citizen's guide to policy and politics. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
Niles, N. (2015). Basics of the U.S. health care system. Burlington, Massachusetts: Jones & Bartlett Learning.
Shi, L. & Singh, D. (2013). Essentials of the U.S. health care system. Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.
Thompson, V. (2010). Health and health care delivery in Canada. Toronto: Mosby/Elsevier.
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