Country Comparisons

Comparison between the U.S and Canada Health Care Systems


The U.S health care system is unique among other high income nations because it lacks a universal health care coverage, does not have a uniform health system, and it is the most expensive healthcare system with high spending (Roper, 2011). The country that I plan to compare the U.S healthcare system with is Canada. In Overall health system performance, Canada ranks 10th while the U.S ranks at 11th position. The U.S ranks last in the eleven high income countries provided in the data because its performance falls way below the standard rate of other nations including Canada, which is ranked directly above it. Although the U.S is the top spender, it performs poorly in terms of equity, access, and outcome. The source of data I have used for the comparisons is the Commonwealth Fund (Commonwealth Fund, 2021).

Healthcare Systems/Components & Comparisons

Healthcare Coverage & Access

The U.S lacks a universal health insurance coverage, which makes access to care especially for low income populations challenging. This means that the U.S underperforms in terms of access and equity between high income populations and low income populations. Although the Affordable Care Act has improved coverage and access to care, the performance is still below average.

On the other hand, Canada has a national health insurance program, which is universal. It covers the entire population in Canada and does not have no out of pocket charges meaning that patients do have financial burden compared to the U.S where the costs of health services are high thus an obstacle to accessing care. Therefore, Canada ensures accessibility of care through the universal health systems.

Healthcare Organization, Delivery, & Payment/Reimbursement

The U.S has a multiplayer system whereby different third parties are responsible for reimbursement tasks. Examples of these third party payers include commercial health insurance companies and the state and federal governments. Unlike the U.S, Canada has a single payer system obligated with reimbursing health care providers.

In terms of healthcare organization, people pay for their own health care insurance in the U.S. This means that only those who can afford to pay for the health insurance, can have universal access to health within the country.  In Canada, the federal government is responsible for providing funding support for health care insurance that provides all citizens with health insurance through the NHS (Gayle, 2020).

In terms of delivery of services, both the U.S and Canada health care system focus towards ensuring delivery of quality care to the public to achieve better health outcomes. For instance, the U.S Affordable Care Act fosters efficient delivery of health care and organization for better health outcomes.

Cost Control or Containment

In Canada, the ministry of health in each province is obligated to control medical costs. Cost control is achieved through predetermined fees for physicians and fixed global budgets. For instance, the operating hospital budgets are funded and approved by the ministry in every province. In addition, Capital expenditures must receive the approval of the ministry.

In the U.S, cost control is done by multiple players including the federal government, insurance companies, drug companies, lawyers, and patients. This therefore makes it challenging to effectively control costs and this also explains the rising costs in the U.S healthcare system (Bodenheimer & Grumbach, 2020).

Overall Summary

The findings reveal that the U.S healthcare system is the most expensive globally. However, despite the high costs spending on healthcare, the U.S has been ranked poor in terms of achieving better health outcomes compared to other nations including Canada in the dimensions of equity, efficiency, and access. The unexpected findings is that Canada has a better healthcare system than the U.S. in terms of healthcare coverage whereby it is available for all citizens, the financial challenges do not exist, more services are available for their patients, the costs are lower, and the health status is superior. The overall healthcare system in the U.S is superior to Canada because the quality of medical services are higher in the U.S due to improved technologies and availability of prescription drugs. Findings indicate that the waiting times in the U.S are shorter, which makes access to most medical services easy thus improving the quality of medical services.


Bodenheimer, T.S. & Grumbach, K. (2020). Understanding health policy: A clinical approach. (8th ed). Stanford, Connecticut: Appleton & Lange. (Chapters 5 & 6, 14).

Gayle, J. (2020). Healthcare Organization & Delivery. Microsoft Stream Video

Roper, W. (2011). US Healthcare System: Current and Future.

Commonwealth Fund. (2021). International Healthcare System Profiles.

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