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Canada’s Health Care

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The health care system of Canada is slowly growing to be a big concern in the contemporary society. Many people from Canada do not have doctors to assist them. Moreover, there are not enough emergency rooms to cater for admission cases. The wait times for the special tests to be done have increasingly become long that an individual could easily succumb to a serious illness they have been diagnosed with, before they receive any proper treatment.  Understaffing has led to overworking of nurses since the Canadian government has created cut-backs to the health care system that was meant to protect the welfare of citizens. The training of doctors is normally at a slow pace, and thus, cannot accommodate the increasing population and the doctors themselves could not even stay in Canada after training (Health care system, 2012). Some move to the United States and other developed countries due to high remuneration offered, which is not the case in Canada. Essentially, Canada lacks an authentic public health care paradigm.

Health care in Canada is apparently a privilege and not a right for the citizens (Commonwealth Fund Report, 2010). Illness is emerging as a very serious issue because of insufficient health care professionals and facilities in Canada. The modern society is living longer than was the case in the past. Consequently, there is a need for a much better health care. Patients, who recover from these procedures, are discharged quickly than it was the case in the past. The lack of hospitals and palliative care facilities has forced terminal patients be sent home very fast. Such circumstances prove that the health care system of Canada requires standards uplift for the citizens to live and die with decorum.

The health care system in Canada makes the citizens beggars since they cannot choose any health care service. The Canadians seem to have gotten used to the bad health care plan in their country. The premiums they pay and the long time they have to wait before they get health care is becoming part of the system. People have to wait for five hours in the Emergency Room. Between 1993 and 2003, the median wait for health care treatment for a patient after being referred to a general practitioner moved from about 9 weeks to almost 18 weeks (Hoar, 2004). This would probably be a huge surprise to many people in Canada since the annual budget for Canada’s healthcare system is $46 billion. The number is thought to have been downplayed since it is not the amount that determines the health of the Canadians. The cures for a number of medical cases are scarce, while the research is very expensive in Canada compared to that in the United States.

Health Care System in Canada and other Advanced Countries

Health care systems are very different in different parts of the world and Canada seems to be lagging a lot behind some developed countries. Most of the developed countries have designed their health care systems to address health matters of their populations (Commonwealth Fund Report, 2010). Unlike in Canada, the focus is in the provision of good health and quick response to the needs of the population and making sure that they have a fair financial contribution. This has been achieved through different methods. Some have been able to distribute the health care system planning among the participants in the market, whereas in others, planning is done centrally among charities, trade unions, governments and other coordinated bodies (Commonwealth Fund Report, 2010).

The health care system is a multifaceted concept and can take various forms around the globe. In many nations, the health care system divides itself into private and state, even though there are fees, involved in both, there are some exceptions. In such countries like Australia, the present system co-exists with a private system of health care. All legal permanent citizens are entitled to free public health care (Commonwealth Fund Report, 2010). Treatment, offered by private doctors, is also free if the doctor bills the Health Department. In such places like Cuba, the health care system charges fees in treating certain international patients, even though the tourists, getting ill, are treated free in the hospitals in Cuba. In France, most of the doctors stick with private practice. The hospitals in India are operated by charitable trusts, the government and private organizations. Apart from the contemporary medicine system, conventional and indigenous systems of health care are practiced all throughout India. Alternative health care systems are recognized by the Indian government. All the people, who are legal citizens of Ireland, are entitled to good health care through the Ireland health care system. It is only in some instances an individual would be expected to pay a certain subsidized fee for specific health care given. This relies on age, disability, illness and income. The Russians have the right to access government health care and free medical assistance. 

Even with the annual budget of $46 billion, Canada still uses fewer funds on health care, when compared to the United States, despite lacking a universal system. This is because the government of Canada sets schedules of fees for annual hospital budgets, doctors and prices for drug prescription. Research shows that Canada allocates $2,600 per resident less in a year than is the case in the United States. The fees for in-office visits are also considerably less. However, the budgets in hospitals are almost the same. After the government sets the annual budget, each hospital is supposed to operate within their assigned budget. Tight budgets only imply that the hospitals in Canada cannot invest in technology and equipment that could potentially save many people. Actually, the health care system in Canada would be more affected in the event that it was not geographically close to the United States, when the people of Canada need better and quick care. This is true because about 160,000 medical treatments and services were carried out on Canadians outside Canada over a period of three years, most in the United States from 2007 to 2010 (Hinds, 2010).

One critical set of issues, affecting both private and public policy-makers apprehension in Canada, could be the task of re-designing the care process to promote the delivery of patient-centered care. Patient-centered care is described as the health care that institutes a partnership amidst patients, practitioners and families to guarantee decisions that take into account the needs and preferences of the patients and solicit the input of the patients on support and the education needed to make decisions and take part in the healthcare process (Lasser et al., 2006). About forty years ago, Canada and the United States were relatively the same, concerning the health care systems. However, the case is different today. A joint study of the United States and Canada, conducted on health, compared income, age, immigration status, gender and race, using logistic regression in evaluating countries as an interpreter of health care access, satisfaction and quality of care and as a predictor of the differences, based on these measures.

Generally, Canadian health care system ranks second to last, when compared to such industrialized nations like Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the U.K and the United States as currently reported by a private United States foundation that examines and studies international health care systems. It only beat that of the United States in this group. The report relied on data from mail and phones surveys, carried out with patients and doctors in these countries (Valiante and Canwest News Service, 2010). Cathy Schoen, a co-author of this report and The Commonwealth Fund senior vice president attributed the position of Canada on health matters to inadequate basic care services and the slothful adoption of integrated information technology, which would be a useful system in keeping records (Health care transformation in Canada, n.d).

Despite ranking high above the United States on health care system matters, Canada has been very slow in the use of electronic records in its system (Valiante and Canwest News Service, 2010).  Wait times is a very big issue as reported by Canadian patients, going to see a doctor. Additionally, there are no ‘after-hours’ care and a problem has been dealt with the use of emergency rooms for cases that cannot be reported as emergency. Looking at the United States, IT systems are of a very high standard and make it possible for doctors to know all the medications, given to a patient immediately. IT systems offer very early warnings and, at the same time, alerts on a person’s recovery. With a system of universal health insurance, Canada spends almost half as much on health care per capita comparable to the United States, even though the people of Canada live between 2 and 3 years longer.

A number of population-based information is available, concerning health care processes and habits of care in both Canada and the United States, which could be used to explain the difference in the life expectancy. Both the residents of the United States and the Canadians are not actually satisfied with their systems of health care. Moreover, the low-income earners in the United States appeared to have more issues, attaining care than their peers in other English-Speaking countries like in Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom and New Zealand (Lasser et al., 2006).

On a joint analysis between Canada and the United States, Americans are less likely to have a regular doctor and more likely to encounter un-addressed needs. A health care report in Canada in 2011 stated that the reasons for having such needs were different. Moreover, 7% of American respondents who were relatively less than the Canadian respondents by a mere 1% encountered unmet needs due to financial biases (Lasser et al., 2006). On another hand, 3.5% of Canadian residents had unaddressed needs due to waiting times, which was less than 10% of Americans, and most certainly were forced to forgo medicine. The Americans are less in a position to access health care than it is the case with Canadians (Health care transformation in Canada, n.d). Universal coverage seems to cut down most differences in accessing health care. There seems to be high cost of healthcare in Canada than in the United States. Despite the good quality care, offered in the Canadian health care system, many Canadian patients have, in most cases, taken refuge in America since they could not obtain and afford intensive-care beds in Canada. 

The United States does not have a perfect health care system, even though it does have the best care system of handling emergency cases, compared to Canada and even around the world. Advanced medical technology in the United States has, however, not translated into better statistics of health for the Americans. Actually, the general performance of the United States in the health care system management is relatively lower compared to that of Canada. Another issue is the fact that America has the highest poverty level and income inequality compared to Canada and other rich nations (Rachlis, 2010). This is a very significant factor, highlighting one of the major differences between the health care system of the United States and Canada. Poverty affects the health of an individual much more than the restricted administration of a regular health care system.

There are several income related health matters that have bonds with the healthcare inequality in America. The health care system in Canada is universal and permits the citizens to get any necessary health care and preventative care, when they feel it is important. The rate of mortality is very much stable in Canada than in the United States. Income relation mortality inequalities have been on the increase in America and that tells how ineffective the health care system is, compared to that of Canada. The socio-economic distribution, concerning infant mortality in Canada and the United States, is very different. Across these socio-economic groups, there has been a decline in Canada, while the mortality gap is widening in the United States of America (Lasser et al., 2006).           Generally, the notion health is slightly lower in the United States, when compared to Canada, even though the difference is very small statistically. Health in America is found to decrease with age and is very high in Canada, compared to that of the United States, amongst the lowest education groups and the lowest income cluster (McGrail et al, 2009). Thus, the health care in both Canada and the United States centers on higher-income groups, even though there was a significant difference in America, where the higher-income cluster surpasses the lower-income highly. Therefore, while Canada has a somewhat imperfect health care system, it is generally better than that of the United States of America.

Canada needs to come up with a way of providing fast, quality care and enhance responsibility and accountability to the entire system through the use of highly developed procedures of tracking and monitoring progress (Valiante and Canwest News Service, 2010).  The health care outcomes in Canada, compared to other developed countries, are of great concern for the country. It may be considered better than that of the United States by some researchers, but it leaves a lot to be desired. This research is very important for policymakers and programmers of healthcare in the efforts of maximizing the efficiency, effectiveness and quality of care that should be delivered in the Canadian health care system. It is very much perceptible that a more conclusive research into the Canadian health care system, which particularly deals with the causes and nature of any link between outcomes and processes of care, be further developed. While some studies could report some better health care quality in this nation, socio-economic inequalities, encountered in health, prevalently seen as pervasive in the United States, are apparently less stark in Canada (Lasser et al., 2006).        

The things creating flaws and that need to be addressed in the Canadian health care system are long wait times, lack of doctors and other health care professionals, and the focus on treatment. These factors make the Canadian system far from a perfect health care system. Apparently, the Canadian system has basically forgotten that it was meant to protect the health of every Canadian and not merely the people who could afford to pay for the services. The Canadian health care system could be better. Canada could establish the same system as that of the United States, where all services are founded on the ability of an individual to pay. It would appear that the health care system of Canada cannot go backwards so it should keep going forward. Regrettably, it is becoming vivid that going forward would mean an increment in the long wait times, a larger shortage of the professionals in health care and more trips, made by Canadians across the border to acquire healthcare services. Therefore, the Canadian government should seek to address these flaws, highlighted here, to perfect the system.     

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