Health defines a state of mental, physical and social well-being and not necessarily the absence of illness. Health care in turn describes the act of maintaining mental and physical welfare of human beings through services offered by medical experts.
Health care is essential for continued human productivity, increased life expectancy and decreased mortality rates. An efficient health care system should thus accomplish the above three purposes in human life.
In order to establish the defaults in the United States health care system that requires correction, it is crucial that a comparison of this system to that in another country is carried out. A system that provides an efficient means of comparison is that of Canada. A closer look at both systems clearly outlines the basic factors of comparison as follows.
The most conspicuous basis of comparison lies in the nature of each system and this is in regard to the government participation in provision of health care and in setting regulations to guide regulation of health insurance schemes and operations of health service providers. In this regard, it is evident that the government is a direct shareholder in the Canadian health care system.
The Canadian health care system is a socialized one in nature, with health care services being funded by the federal government.
In Canada, the government has clearly defined roles in health care provision. These roles are: direct delivery of health services, setting standards and guidelines so as to protect the health of the people, financing health care systems and establishing means of improving the health care system (outlined in the Canada performance 2004).
The result is a system that is characterized by five unique principles namely: “universality, comprehensiveness, accessibility, portability and public administration” as outline by (http://www.cihi.ca/cihiweb/dispPage.jsp?cw_page=AR_43_E ) which declares, “The happiness and powers of a state depends on the health of her people.”
This characteristically government funded system is in contrast to that of the United states which operates under a mixed policy system in which health care is provided by both the public and private sector.
Unlike the socialized Canadian system that strives to achieve equality in health care provision, the government contribution in the United States aims at providing health care for a few poor and aged people, with the rich and employed having to depend on employer run insurance schemes or private insurance.
The United States operates a system that spends extravagantly on insurance of those who can afford it and despite spending a great portion of GNP on health care; almost 50 million of her people go uninsured. The result is that the uninsured bare great burden to cater for their medical bills and this has been seen to cause of bankruptcy in several cases.
According to San Francisco chronicle (in critical condition: Health care in the American Canada’s way), it is evident that despite the large sums of money spent on insurance, Canadians are in better health as compared to the Americans. This is because the American system advocates for more “hospital beds” and not for free medical care for all.
The American medical care systems are however more efficient than the Canadian systems. Efficiency arises as a result of advances in medical technologies through research and qualified medical personnel. Cases have been noted in which Canadian patients requiring emergency surgery have had to wait for months or even seek care from other countries including the United States.
These have been described as the disadvantages of the universal health care system. In the article (Lawrence R. Socialized Health Care System Leaves a Bad Taste in a Patient’s Mouth),he outlines a scenario in the province of Manitoba, Canada whereby food for patients in public hospitals was shipped from Toronto in an attempt to avoid operational costs that would be incurred by employing kitchen staff in the hospitals.