One of the biggest debates in American society today is the current state of healthcare. While many propose adopting a single-payer government run healthcare system, others prefer a privatized system. The Canadian healthcare system provides a good example of a government run healthcare system that many in the United States prefer. In order to determine if the Canadian healthcare system would be worth adopting, both a close examination of the Canadian healthcare system and an analysis of the current state of the American healthcare system are needed.
While Canada’s healthcare system is categorized as a single-payer system, it is important to note that it does not function as a rigid, monolithic system. Health coverage is publicly funded by both federal and provincial taxes, but specifically administered by local provinces. Canadians have the advantage of being able to see any doctor they want, not limited to doctors in a specific group like many private American health insurance plans. Most healthcare providers in Canada are non-profit, with expenses being billed to the federal government, allowing all Canadian residents to have “free” healthcare, It is also important to note that unlike many other countries with a government run health care plan, Canada only provides free healthcare to residents of Canada, as short-term visitors are forced to pay directly for their medical coverage. While Canadian residents do not directly pay for their healthcare, healthcare is collected through taxation, costing most taxpayers roughly $5,000 to $6,000 a year. One drawback of Canada’s health system is that surgeries that are not considered life threatening or appointments with specialty doctors can result in longer waiting times, as these cases are addressed in the order that a medical facility prioritizes them.
The American healthcare system is essentially a hybrid system involving both private and government funded healthcare. Medical care for individuals who cannot afford private health insurance is provided through Medicaid, a program funded through state and federal taxation, and administered by individual states. Medical care for individuals 65 and older is provided through Medicare and funded by the federal government through Social Security. Medicaid either completely or partially covers an individual’s medical costs depending on the individual’s financial status, whereas Medicare requires at least a minimal expense to the individual. Most of the remaining Americans not covered under Medicaid or Medicare have their medical care funded by private health insurance programs. Health coverage on the private insurance market costs Americans roughly $5,000 a year. One advantage of the American healthcare system is that one can generally get non-life-threatening medical care on their timetable and not have to worry about being put on a wait list if the specific medical facility doesn’t highly prioritize that individual’s condition.
In conclusion, the Canadian healthcare system is a little bit overrated. Because overall healthcare costs are similar for the average Canadian and American citizen, whether a citizen pays for them directly to a doctor or health insurance company or indirectly through taxation doesn’t seem to be a significant difference. It is also important to note that the United States has a massive military presence throughout the world and a population nearly 9 times larger than Canada. The United States government simply cannot afford to adopt the Canadian healthcare system. The United States would gain more from evaluating why medical costs are so high and how to lower them, than simply finding new ways to pay for them.