The healthcare system in Canada is consistent of various health insurances, which are socialized to provide coverage to all the citizens in Canada. According to Hutchison et al. (2011), this system is funded by the federal government and is administered based on the provinces or territories of the individuals. Additionally, the federal government is responsible for the formulation of the guidelines underlying the universal healthcare insurance. The universality of the healthcare system means that citizens are able to access various healthcare services such as preventive medications and primary care services (Hutchison et al., 2011). However, there are few exceptions to this with some of the chronic diseases being funded individually. There has been a lot of political controversy over this public provision of healthcare services with some arguing that the public provision of the healthcare system is not efficient compared to the private offering of the same healthcare services (Beaulieu et al., 2013). However, there have been many benefits of the system as it has led Canada to be in the lead ahead of US in terms of the highest life expectancies of 80 years.
Healthcare provision in Canada is premised under the provision of Canada Health Act. In this piece of legislation, five principles can be established. One of them is that of public administration of healthcare whereby health insurance is offered by a public entity without on a non-profit manner (Beaulieu et al., 2013). This ensures that the services providers are not motivated by the need to make profits but for offering quality healthcare. The second principle in the Act is that of comprehensiveness with the citizens being insured against all forms of health risks. On the third principle of universality, there is no discrimination in offering healthcare as all citizens are entitled to the same healthcare level. One of the unique features of the Canadian healthcare is that of portability. In this regard, according to Hutchison et al. (2011), individuals can access healthcare services irrespective of their location in the country. Finally, the principle of accessibility is enshrined in the Act. Specifically, all the people under the healthcare coverage should have a reasonable access to the services without any delay or discrimination. As such, the Canada Healthcare Act is the basis of the healthcare system in the country.
Comparison of Canadas healthcare to that of US
The healthcare system in the United States is embedded in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), which is commonly, termed the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or even Obamacare (Rosenbaum, 2011). Under this Act, healthcare insurance is offered by private entities as opposed to the Canadian healthcare system, which is offered by the federal government through the ministry of health. In the US, there are varieties of private healthcare providers that are licensed to do so by the government. Another difference arises in the Universality of healthcare coverage. In the United States, in the view of Rosenbaum (2011), it cannot be said that healthcare provision is universal as care depends on the type of coverage that an individual has. This can be contrasted by the Canadian healthcare system, which is universal and offers the same healthcare services irrespective of the occupations of the citizens, their medical history, or any other grounds for discrimination (Beaulieu et al., 2013). Indeed, the ACA makes it mandatory for every citizen to purchase healthcare, which is not the case in America.
In Canada, individuals can access healthcare services irrespective of where they live. This is despite the fact that healthcare services are administered by each province/territory. However, in the US, there is lack of equality as the federal governments have differences with the state government on the role that they play in the Medicaid coverage. This has led to an intergovernmental friction, which has eventually made some states to failing to sign to the Medicaid program. The issue of equality of access arises in the two countries with the wait-times in Canada bringing public outcry. Huntington et al. (2011) opines that the insurance reform brought about by ACA tries to address that pertinent issue of timely access to healthcare by lifting the existing conditions as well as the limitations on co-payment. The greatest difference of these two healthcare delivery systems is that in the US the quality and quantity of healthcare services depends on how much an individual is able to pay for the premiums (Rosenbaum, 2011). This is not the case in Canada whereby, individuals do not have to pay premiums as the healthcare services are funded by the government.
In conclusion, Canada has a universal healthcare system, which is provided by public entities funded by the federal government. This healthcare system is provided for in the Canada Health Act. In this Act, the principles of universality, affordability, equal access, and comprehensiveness can be established. Compared to the US healthcare system, Canadian health care system is universal while some of the people in US are still uncovered. Additionally, the nature of healthcare services provided in US is depended on the premiums that the person pays. This is different from Canada where healthcare access is equal irrespective of the earnings of an individual.
Beaulieu, M. D., Haggerty, J., Tousignant, P., Barnsley, J., Hogg, W., Geneau, R., ... & Del Grande, C. (2013). Characteristics of primary care practices associated with high quality of care. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 185(12), E590-E596.
Huntington, W. V., Covington, L. A., Center, P. P., Covington, L. A., & Manchikanti, L. (2011). Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010: reforming the health care reform for the new decade. Pain Physician, 14(1), E35-E67.
Hutchison, B., LEVESQUE, J. F., Strumpf, E., & Coyle, N. (2011). Primary health care in Canada: systems in motion. Milbank Quarterly, 89(2), 256-288.
Obamacare vs. Canada: Five key differences | Physicians for a National Health Program. (2016). Pnhp.org. Retrieved 18 October 2016, from http://www.pnhp.org/news/2013/october/obamacare-vs-canada-five-key-differences
Rosenbaum, S. (2011). The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act: implications for public health policy and practice. Public Health Reports, 130-135.
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