Obamacare Versus The Universal Healthcare System Of Canada

The United States has been straggling to promote its health care system, known as Obamacare, even to a significant faction of the legislative body, the Congress, particularly the Republicans. The said Healthcare system has also been one of the common topics on the news both within and outside the United States, especially when it has been using the Canadian Health Care System as something to which, by comparison, the Obamacare is better (Shufelt 1 -5). This essay will compare the healthcare systems: Canada Healthcare System and the Obamacare. Information from this essay will be of high value to form informed opinion about the two health care systems.
After the United State Federal government shutdown this year, the United States president Barack Obama was successful in implementing his proposed healthcare system, known as Obamacare which is known in the legislation as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Critics of the act, are using the Canadian Health care system, saying that the two healthcare systems are synonymous and hence the Obamacare will also be prone to the pitfalls of the Canadian Health care System, which is a universal health care system. How are these two systems different or similar?
The US Health System`s organization is decentralized. It is regulated and financed by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). The DHHS develops different health services which are primarily delivered to private sectors. These services include the health and insurance services, pharmaceuticals & supplies, and health professional training. On the management category, there is no centralized planning authority, administration is more applied on project or program level, all government units have the authority to enact laws with regards to budgeting process, new programs an restriction & limitations. The same is true with the regulation or implementation of laws, certification, licensure, and accreditation. Fo the category, economic support, the largest source of fund is the Private Health Insurance which are voluntary and health related 34%, households account for 15% of the budget, Medicare 17%, Medicaid 16%, and approximately 65% have some type of health insurance. In 2005, approximately 16% of the GDP can be accounted for the budget allocated for health care. This budget is spent on the following: 33% to hospitals, 23% for physicians` services, 10% medicine, 9% to other personal care, 7% to nursing homes, 6% to program administration, 3% to research and construction, and 2% to home health care. For the category, production of resources, manpower is provided by the health service industry which is the largest industry in the US with almost 12 million workers. For the category, delivery systems, there is a continuum care. The public sector is in charge in prevention and promotion, both public and private sectors for early detection, the private sector and PCP for primary care, Specialists and hospitals for secondary care, Medicaid for long term care, and home or hospice Medicare for palliative care. Care for chronic mental illness is outside the continuum (Audry 1). On the other hand, the Canadian Health System`s organization and delivery of health services is decentralized. The territories and province are responsible for administering planning health services and Medicare. In the creation of policy and management of public health care, it is both the federal and provincial leaderships that directs. The funding for Canada`s Health System is characterized by single-payer national health insurance. All medical-related services are covered by insurances as mandated by the federal government. At present Canada spends 9.5% of its GDP to health care. The federal government also oversees the administration of National health insurance (Medicare) while the public program is administered by the provinces. Contributions from the federal government are according to population size, if the funding is not enough the provinces pay the remainder. Medicare accounts for more than 70% of heal expenses. The remaining expense is taken from private sectors. Nevertheless, approximately 70% of the total health expenses is from the public. For the resource production or the non-financial inputs, the Canadian Health System comes mainly from the private sectors. Canada is able to sustain the needs of its people by decreasing the rate of emigration of its health workers and through the immigration of health experts from other countries. Note that non-financial resources pertain to buildings, information technology, equipment, and health workforce. The financial and non-financial resources are balanced by the federal, provincial, and territory governments (Physicians for a National Health Program 1).
One similarity of the Canadian healthcare system to Obamacare is that both systems do not involve single-payer in acquiring healthcare services. Nevertheless, they are different in such a way that in Canada, the payer is always two-tiered, while in the US it is multi-tiered, which means that there can be more than two tiers. Note that such structure is much more complex than the two-tiered system. The multi-tiered system is more extensive among uninsured Americans due to health care exchanges. At present the majority of Americans gain access to different health care services through different healthcare insurance programs which are subsidized or are made available by their respective employers. Approximately 50 million of American elderly people get their healthcare services from federal medicine program, while another 60 million of the poorest Americans derive their healthcare services from state-federal Medicaid arrangements.
Another distinguishing factor between the two healthcare systems is that in Canada, everyone – meaning every legal Canadian citizen, starting from birth – is already covered by the public funded territorial or provincial plan. The government of Canada spends 10% of its GDP for healthcare. Surpirsingly the United States Health System is the most expensive compared to other nations` health systems all over the globe. Nevertheless, despite the huge amount of money spent on its health system it still logs behind other countries such as Canada which budgetary allocation for its healthcare system is almost half of that of the US (Davis 1). Institutions like the National Bureau of Economic Research, noted that the two countries have, basically, the same culture, and hence the US could be, at least, at the same efficiency in creating a Universal healthcare system. The Obamacare, on the other hand, despite having a broader coverage than the previously Republican-created healthcare of the United States, still fails to provide universal healthcare to the Americans. Accordingly, in Obamacare, in order to avail the healthcare services that one desires, he or she must first purchase a healthcare insurance plan. Nevertheless, due to the diverseness of the available insurance plan options, Americans can purchase that which fits their budget and personal choice. Hence, while the Canadian Healthcare system provides uniform type and quality of healthcare to its entire people, the Obamacare only provides the quality of healthcare that the person`s money can affords. Approximately 20 million Americans will have no access to healthcare due to this policy. In fact according to the research results presente by Nager approximately 3.6 million Americans will remain uninsured, hence no access to healthcare services, even until 2023 (5).
The Canadian healthcare system is also sensitive to the fact that not every canadan will have the same capacity to purchase the basic healthcare services, hence on a national spread, Canada provides to all its citizens all the basic healthcare needs and services regardless if the particular individual cannot afford such service. The disparity in the individual`s capacity to purchase and the healthcare services` cost is chipped in by the Canadian government. The federal government of the Canada have experienced problems with coordination with its states or territorial provinces due to this arrangements, yet the system works properly. In the United States, however, despite being a little less complex when it comes to matters of chipping in for un-afforded healthcare programs, its fractured federalism makes the entire process inefficient. It is predicted that Obamacare will worsen the stet and regional differences, because in accordance with the implementation of the Obamacare health system, the United States Supreme Court had ensued a decision to curtail federal government`s responsibility to help states broaden their respective Medicaid coverage. There is already a disunity among states and between the federal government and the states that only approximately 50% of the states signed the amended Medicaid program.
There is also a great gulf in in accessing healthcare services in the United States. In Canada the only problem in accessing such services is that it is time consuming due to long period of waiting time, I the US there are many instances that the services utterly inaccessible. Nevertheless, the Obamacare is trying to addresss this concern in inaccessibility by making provisions with regards to insurance reforms. An example of such provisions is the lifting of pre-existing limits and conditions on the rule of “co-payment.” Nevertheless, such effort never erases the fact that the individual could only gain access the highest quality of healthcare services by paying the corresponding monetary value. In other words despite the existence of potential accessibility, a poor American will never be able to access the quality of healthcare that the 1% reaches American citizens or even that of the American middle class can. Note that the Obamacare also uses other parameters in determining what and the quality of healthcare service that will be provided for particular people. Such parameters include the person`s age, income, health, and the personal choice of the healthcare program such as the gold, platinum, silver, or bronze coverage.
Further difference between the two healthcare systems is that the Obamacare has a weak cost control. Accordingly, Obamacare includes a review of reimbursements made through Medicare, nevertheless, the complexities of the multi-tiered system makes the cost assessment inefficient in determining whether there were healthcare providers that over charged patient on the service which they provided. In other words, Obamacare is not efficient in determining abuses in the payment system such as over pricing of services. The Obamacare is also prone to monopoly fee negotiations. The Canadian government understand the complexity of such assessment and as such has implemented the two-tiered system, not only the two-tiered system will be much easier in performing the cost monitoring task, it can also monitor if monopoly fee negotiations are taking place.
Another major difference between Obamacare and the Canadian Healthcare System is that the latter system stays with the person throughout his or her lifetime the former on the other hand, only stays to the person as long as he or she can contribute his or her share to the insurance program chosen. Moreover, in Canada a person can choose freely from a long list of doctors and healthcare providers from whom the healthcare service can be obtain. There are what they called the in-network, which means the doctors and healthcare facilities recommended by the healthcare system, and the out-network, those which are not part of the recommendations. There is no extra charge if Canadian citizen choses a healthcare service provider or doctors that are out-network. In the United States, the situation is very different. First, there is only a very limited number of choices from which healthcare services can be obtained. Moreover choosing to avail of the services provided by institutions or people outside the in-network would entail extra expenses not shouldered by the insurance plan.
In concluding this essay, it is obvious that the Obamacare is structured so that it fits business purposes. In other words, it treats the American public`s health as some source of profits. The Canadian healthcare system is synonymous to a humanitarian effort, trying to provide the best healthcare service to everyone who needs it.
Works Cited
Audry. “The US Healthcare System and the Roemer Model.” 2013. Web. 6 December 2013. .
Davis, K. “Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: How the Performance of the U.S. Health Care System Compares Internationally.” 2010. Web. 7 December 2013. .
National Bureau of Economic Research. “Comparing the U.S. and Canadian Health Care Systems.” Fall 2013. Web. 6 December 2013. .
Physicians for a National Health Program. “International Health Systems.” 2012. Web. 6 December 2013. .
Shufelt, T. “How the productivity of Canada`s health care stacks up to the U.S.” 18 June 2012. Web. 7 December 2013. .