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American vs Canadian health care

1. Universality:

– In Canada: Every citizen is eligible for “free and universal access to publicly insured health care.”

– In U.S.: 95 per cent of the country’s 307 million people will have access to health insurance under the new legislation.

2. Structure:

– In Canada: Single-payer system that is government-funded.

– In U.S.: Medicaid and Medicare are publicly funded; they complement a private insurance system that is paid for individually.

Under the new legislation, government would offer subsidies and tax breaks to individuals to allow them to buy insurance.

3. Coverage:

– In Canada: Health care coverage varies from province to province, with some services costing extra if not covered by private insurance.

– In U.S.: Coverage would vary based on specifics set out by individual insurance plan. The “individual mandate” under the new legislation requires Americans to buy health insurance or risk being fined.

4. System:

– In Canada: For publicly insured health care services, residents do not pay.

– In U.S.: Residents pay up front and are reimbursed based on insurance plan.

5. Common criticisms:

– In Canada: Can’t get treatment fast enough, some services not covered.

– In U.S.: Too expensive, doesn’t cover everyone, and the nearly-universal plan promised by the legislation may be reversed by next administration ‘ if ‘ Obama loses 2014 election.

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