Comparison and Contrasts of the United States and Canadian Health Care Systems

Topics: Universal health care, Health economics, Healthcare reform Pages: 5 (1632 words) Published: March 20, 2011
Comparison and Contrasts of the United States and Canadian Health Care Systems

The National healthcare debate is one that has been a continuing arguing point for the last decade. The goal is to provide healthcare to all Americans, regardless of whether they are able to afford insurance or not. In 2009, the U.S. National Health Care Act failed to come to be debated in the house. This Act would have called for the creation of a universal single-payer health care system. Under the policies this Act would enact, all medically-necessary medical care decided between doctor and patient would be paid for automatically and directly by the Government of the United States. In place of this Act, the compromise was the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) which focuses on reform of the private health insurance market, provide better coverage for those with pre-existing conditions, improve prescription drug coverage in Medicare and extend the life of the Medicare Trust fund and the amendment to this bill, the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010. Prior to the passage of these two bills there had been great comparison to of the National Health Care Act to universal health care coverage provided by our neighbor to the north. The opposition to these reforms in health care tried to stir panic in the hearts of Americans by stating that the new health care bill would create “death panels” to determine who will receive lifesaving medical care. As the healthcare debate rages in political and public opinion, a key arguing point is the comparison and contrast of the healthcare delivery in the United States and Canada. Four key points of this comparison and contrast study are the aspects of access, quality, cost, and continuity.

Access to medical care is one of the most important aspects of healthcare delivery. Without proper access, those who need medical care would have to wait an unnecessary amount of time to receive the healthcare they need, and without proper health coverage, a person’s access is extremely limited. Healthcare in Canada is characterized by its universal access. All residents are entitled to the insured health services provided for by the public health insurance plan on uniform terms and conditions. In addition, health care provided to someone who is temporarily visiting another province is reimbursed under the insurance plan of the patient’s home province. Canadians moving from one province to another continue to be covered for insured health services by their home province during any waiting period (not to exceed three months) imposed by their new province of residence. In the United States, no such law exists to insure that all Americans are provided the opportunity to receive healthcare. Under the U.S National Health Care Act, all citizens of the United States and U.S territories would have been included in tax funded health care that provided access to all medically necessary care to include primary care and prevention, prescription drugs, emergency care, long-term care, mental health services, dental services, and vision care. This would have been very comparable to the coverage provided in Canada. To guarantee access in the U.S for those citizens without health care coverage in emergent situations, the Emergency Medical Treatment & Labor Act (EMTALA) of 1986 ensures public access to emergency services regardless of ability to pay. Additionally “If a hospital is unable to stabilize a patient within its capability, or if the patient requests, an appropriate transfer should be implemented”. (CMS, 2010). However it does not relieve the person receiving emergency care the responsibility to pay for such care and permits the hospital to pursue the debtor for payment. In stark contrast to that, in Canada, emergency room treatment for legal Canadian residents is not charged to the patient at time of service but is met by the...

References: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. (2010). Emergency Medical Treatment & Labor
Act (EMTALA). Retrieved from
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). (1998). “Your guide to choosing quality
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Elizabeth Docteur and Robert A. Berenson. (August, 2009). How Does the Quality of U.S.
Health Care Compare Internationally? Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Universal Health Care May Cost $1.5 Trillion. (March 18, 2009). Fox News. Retrieved from
Comparing Healthcare in Canada and the United States and the World. (2009). Retrieved from
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