Pros and Cons of Us Healthcare System

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Comparative Study of United States and Canada's Health Care System

October 19, 2012
Table of Contents

I. Problem/Issue Statement5
II. Literature Review6
III. Problem Analysis22
A. Government involvement22
B. Coverage and Access24
C. Wait times24
D. Price of health care25
E. Medical professionals26
F. Drugs27
G. Technology28
H. Malpractice Litigation28
I. Health Care Outcome29
IV. Solutions and Implementation29
V. Justification31
VI. References35

Executive Summary
In this paper, the USA healthcare system is being compared to the Canadian healthcare system. The U.S. health system has been described as the most competitive, heterogeneous, and inefficient, fragmented, and advanced system of care in the world. (Garber, 2008)  It is the USA’s mission to provide the perception that despite coverage, cost and other problems in the health care system, the quality of health care in the United States is better than it is anywhere else in the world. Much of the appeal of the Canadian system is that it seems to do more for less. Canada provides universal access to health care for its citizens, while nearly one in five non-elderly Americans are uninsured. Canada spends far less of its GDP on health care (10.4 percent, versus 16 percent in the U.S.) yet performs better than the U.S. on two commonly cited health outcome measures, the infant mortality rate and life expectancy. But what constitutes high quality health care? The U.S. Institute of Medicine’s definition, which has grounded expert work in the United States and elsewhere, describes quality as “the degree to which health services for individuals and populations increase the likelihood of desired health outcomes and are consistent with current professional knowledge.” A healthcare system can be reviewed by many standards. It can be reviewed by its effectiveness and efficiency, its fairness and receptiveness to the expectations of its population. It can be reviewed through its non-discriminatory economic contributions and suitability and lastly, it can be reviewed through its population’s overall health. Both the Unites States and Canada have Medicare programs that are publicly funded. However, the United States unlike Canada has other types of programs that are publicly funded. These programs for example include the States Child's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) for children of low income families and the Veteran's Hospital Administration Program (VA) which supplies military veterans’ with health benefits via a network of government hospitals. Canada’s government in contrast to the U.S. offers a single payer system for health care to its citizens where fundamental services are supplied by private physicians (socialized medicine). Physician care in the U.S. is typically provided by a physician in private practice but can come from the government as well. A good number of U.S. and Canadian physicians also utilize a fee per visit rate. Roughly 2/3 of hospitals in the United States’ urban areas are non-profit hospitals unlike Canada. Numerous citizens in both countries encounter difficulties obtaining access to health care. Many U.S. citizens either have no health insurance because they are not able to afford it or it is inadequate, unlike Canada where all members of society are covered for health care. Both Canada and the U.S. have restricted programs that supply prescriptions to the underprivileged. A number of provinces in Canada still charge individuals and families premiums and in the U.S, states like Connecticut and Minnesota have moved toward Universal Health Care. For the most part both countries seem to hold equal acceptability and equal restrictions. Essentially, when comparing and contrasting the U.S. and Canada, the Canadian health care system has a smaller number of physicians as oppose to the United States but there is more government involvement in the Canadian health care system than in the United...
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