Compare and Contrast Essay Sample on Healthcare Systems in China and Canada

Published: 2022-12-14
Compare and Contrast Essay Sample on Healthcare Systems in China and Canada
Type of paper:  Research paper
Categories:  Medicine Pharmacology Healthcare Public health Community health
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1803 words
16 min read


A practicable medical system in any country is very important for the efficient delivery of medical care which promotes a healthy population. While it is paramount that any healthcare system must be affordable, accessible, and innovative, this is not always the case. In most medical systems in the world, there are both government-run and market-based medical systems, both of which are expected to deliver and meet the health needs of the citizens (Mossialos et al., 2016).

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Access to Healthcare

Access to healthcare is a very crucial aspect of any medical system. The Chinese medical system has gone through various phases, some of which have made it difficult for the common man to access quality medical care. It is important to note that it was not until the 19th century that evidence-based medical care was introduced from the west to supplement traditional Chinese medicine (Yu et al., 2010). Since then, there has been quite a revolution in the system. Following the takeover by the Communist Party in 1949, China's medical system was nationalized (Nundy, 2016). This led to the streamlining of health care in the urban areas and the dispatching of primary health care to the rural areas through what was popularly known as the barefoot doctors (Nundy, 2016)). Access to healthcare was, therefore, improved. However, following the 1978 economic reforms, access to healthcare began to deteriorate due to the privatization of the health sector, and by the 1990s, the poor could not afford the cash required for medical care (Nundy, 2016). Fortunately, the government has launched various programs that have seen more people enroll in the medical cover. Currently, over 95% of China's population, including the rural poor, have at least a basic medical insurance cover. Nevertheless, this means that healthcare is still inaccessible to these without money or enhanced medical insurance. According to (Nundy, 2016), the medical facilities in large cities such as Guangzhou, Shanghai, and Beijing are superior compared to those in rural areas. Public hospitals, in particular, are ill-equipped, and those that have advanced facilities can only be found in the large cities. The VIP wards in public hospitals are largely unaffordable for the poor yet that is where the good facilities can be found. Therefore, the poor are still unable to access health care, and it is worse if the person is poor and lives in remote areas since there is no exclusively free healthcare in China.

In Canada, on the other hand, the situation is different. Initially, religious organizations, charities, and municipal governments ran hospitals that treated and admitted all patients irrespective of their social and financial status, and it was not until the twentieth century that the aspect of health insurance was introduced (Mossialos et al., 2016). The universal health cover was to ensure that every person could access medical care as soon as they needed it. The 1966 Medical Care Act was established to allow provinces to establish their own universal healthcare plans (Mossialos et al., 2016). Canada was in the forefront and in 1984, it passed the Canada Health Act which outlawed additional billings by doctors and user fees (Mossialos et al., 2016). Currently, the healthcare system in Canada is well streamlined and relatively accessible to everyone. Although those living in remote and far-flung areas may experience a shortage of doctors, there is an effective provincially-based Medicare system that ensures that federal standards are upheld throughout the country (Mossialos et al., 2016). The standards ensure the health care is universal, comprehensive, portable, and accessible. People do not have to pay for all medical services since the government, charitable organizations, and private insurance from employers and the provinces take care of that. Any charges such as doctor's annual fees are optional and unnecessary.

It is clear that there is a huge difference between access to healthcare in China and Canada. In China, one has to have money and reside in large urban centers for them to access healthcare services. The rural hospitals are poorly equipped and are manned by poorly trained staff while the city hospitals are well-equipped and have highly qualified and experienced staff (Nundy, 2016). The basic medical cover available is inadequate. It, therefore, becomes difficult for the rural poor to access quality healthcare. The authorities have not managed to bridge the inequality gap in terms of access to healthcare in China. On the other hand, Canada has made major strides that have ensured adequate access to healthcare among the citizens. Apart from applying the federal standards to promote access to health care, Canada has put in place Acts such as the Canada Health Act to ensure that patients are not exploited by medical professionals. Any extra payment by a Canadian is completely optional. Thus, access to healthcare in Canada is not a problem irrespective of where one comes from.

Issues in the Pharmacology Industry

The pharmacology industry is a very important factor in the provision of healthcare. China has one of the most vibrant pharmacology industries in the world. Considering the huge population (1.4 billion people) the People's Republic of China provides a major opportunity for the pharmaceutical industry. In the Chinese medical system, most of the pharmacology bills are footed by the patients. According to Mossialos et al. (2016), the basic health cover has no provision for medical drugs thus the patients have to pay for them in cash. The patients in China are burdened with medical care expenses due to insufficient insurance and rapid increases in the cost of drugs (Yu et al., 2010). Apart from issues such as aging population, changing disease patterns, and general inflation, there are other challenges facing the pharmacology industry in China. They include inconsistent procedures for drug approval, insufficient drug research due to inadequate corporate support, ineffective oversight from the government agencies, unsatisfactory safeguarding of intellectual property rights, and imbalances in the retail sales (Yu et al., 2010). Such issues put the industry in disarray. Nevertheless, the pharmacology industry is expected to get better regulated and grow exponentially by the year 2020 (Mossialos et al., 2016). However, the industry in China is still struggling as per now.

In Canada, the pharmacology market is highly regulated. As part of the medical system, the government recognizes the fact that this industry plays a pivotal role in the process of healthcare delivery. Nevertheless, the industry has had issues, some of which are particularly unique to the country. Some of these issues include patent losses due to generic brands, rigorous trademark requirements by Health Canada, and changing business models (Gaffney et al., 2018). Despite the challenges, the drugs are available although at a very high cost. The Canadian government has been accused of wastage. Some of the prescription drugs are overpriced while in some cases, prescribing practices have been found to be influenced by drug marketers who misinform the stakeholders in the medical system (Gaffney et al., 2018). Additionally, Canadians are forced to pay for their medication since the country does not offer a universal drug cover (Mossialos et al., 2016). This means that the pharmacological services are still inaccessible to very many Canadians, especially those who cannot afford the private insurance option.

Clearly, in both China and Canada, the pharmacology industry is facing a number of issues. This is despite the difference in the way the regulation is done in both countries. Although the regulation seems to be better done and more streamlined in Canada than in China, none of the countries is insulated from challenges. While in China, the issues have to do with inefficient government procedures, it is all about wastage, changing business models and patents in Canada. In both cases, there is the issue of accessibility of the drugs. In most cases, it is the patients and their families that pay for the drugs since the medical covers do not have provisions for the drugs. Such challenges can only be dealt with by the respective governments since they are unique to those countries.

The Role of Community Care Access Centers

Community care centers are instrumental in the delivery of healthcare in the system. In China, community care is a crucial aspect of the medical system. Community care access centers in China are dominant in rural areas and mainly take care of the needs of senior citizens (Li et al., 2018). The centers are recognized as major institutions that provide care and support to rural families. These centers offer rehabilitation and medical services to the seniors, most of whom have been abandoned by the energetic young people who have moved to urban centers in search of better economic opportunities (Mossialos et al., 2016). Community Care Access Centers in China received a major boost in 2011 when the Chinese State Council promulgated the Chinese 12th 'Five-Year Plan of Social Services for Seniors' that sought to promote equity in the provision of community care center services (Li et al., 2018). However, there are still disparities in the provision of this care due to regional differences and economic imbalances. The uneven distribution of healthcare resources and personnel is, therefore, an issue of concern despite the increase in the number of daycare centers to 35000 by the close of the year 2016 (Li et al., 2018). The centers in rural communities are not able to attract highly skilled personnel and adequate funding due to neglect by the government.

In Canada, The situation is a little bit different. Unlike in China where there are thousands of Community Care Access Centers, Canada has few. In Ontario, for instance, there are fourteen Community Care Access Centers which are charged with the responsibility of assisting people to access individualized community and home-based care outside a hospital environment (Coyte & McKeever, 2016). These centers do not offer the required services directly but contract the relevant organizations to do so. Since the centers' operations are fully funded by The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, the services are equitable and free to the residents of Ontario who are eligible. The centers offer a wide range of services. These services include the determination of eligibility, coordination of personal therapy and support, and placement into homes that offer long term care, and they are normally delivered at the individuals' homes, in clinics or in schools (Coyte & McKeever, 2016). This means that as long as one is eligible, they are able to easily access the services offered by the Community Care Access Centers across Canada.

The difference between the Chinese and Canadian medical systems is evidently different in terms of the services offered at the Community Care Access Centers. Although the services offered in these centers are more or less similar, there are glaring differences with regards to delivery. The Chinese system is crippled with poor funding and unequal distribution of medical resources thus making it difficult for the Community Care Access Centers to execute their responsibilities as expected. This is despite the fact that there are numerous centers in China. The elderly, who are the main targets of these centers, are not able to access the services offered equitably.

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