Thursday, October 18, 2007

System vs. System: Canada and the U.S.A.

In a new Op-Ed for the Healthcare Financial Management Association, George C. Halvorson analyses the differences between the U.S. and Canadian health care systems as well as their attendent costs.

Americans are increasingly asking why the United States is the only western industrialized country that has not managed to achieve universal healthcare coverage for all of its citizens. They also are wondering why we don't learn from our neighbors to the north and move the current Canadian universal coverage approach south. That's an interesting and important question.


Most people who know that Canada spends less money on health care believe that the cost difference is almost entirely due to the lower administrative costs that result from Canada using a “single-payer” insurance model. Is that true? No.

The truth is that Canada now spends about $2,600 per resident per year less than we spend on healthcare costs in the United States because-very simply-Canadians spend less money on the actual purchase of care.

What follows is a lucid and detailed analysis of the various contributing factors including, but not limited to:

  • The Canadian Pricing Model

  • Prescription Drug Coverage

  • Adminstrative Costs

There is much talk of the Canadian health care system in the media as more and more Americans are drawn to the health care reform debate. This article is a wonderful source of hard numbers for anyone who is interested in the Canadian aspect of the discussion.

SOURCE: "Understanding the Trade-Offs of the Canadian Health System" 10/17/07
photo courtesy of striatic on Flickr under its Creative Commons license

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