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US vs Canadian Healthcare What Are the Differences?

About 67.5% of Americans are covered by private health insurance, which is often funded (in part) by their employers. In Canada indirectly, the healthcare coverage cost at about $5,789 a year per person. Meaning Canadian healthcare is also far from being free.

USA Vs Canada

In the US, we often get a bit caught up in the healthcare debate. The media often suggests that our neighbors, the Canadians, have better healthcare than we do. However, a side-by-side comparison will show that each system has its pros and cons.

As soon-to-be or current allied health professionals, you’re probably very interested in this ongoing debate. Instead of jumping to conclusions about which system may be better, let’s uncover the real differences between US and Canadian healthcare.

Is Canadian Healthcare Free?

The real question is, what do you define as “free”? Canada’s healthcare is funded by a “single-payer” system, but it doesn’t function as one single, unified system. Coverage is publicly-funded, meaning that the funds come from federal and provincial taxes.

Some estimates, such as those of the Fraser Institute, put the average cost at about $5,789 a year per person. Meaning Canadian healthcare is far from free.

Additionally, care is provided by plans created in each province or territory, rather than a single, unified federal health plan. The Canadian government pays into these plans, but each territory and province is responsible for taking this money to create their own system under the guidelines set forth by Canadian Health Act (CHA).

For example, all “necessary” health services – like surgical dentistry, hospitals, and doctors – must be insured by the public plan.

In Canada, however, physicians are private providers rather than government employees. These providers see patients and charge insurance plans, just as they do in the US. In this instance, “Obamacare” vs. Canada Health Acthave more similarities than differences.

US vs CA: Healthcare Eligibility

In the US, we wrestle with the question of who should be covered by healthcare. Some citizens are concerned about paying for care for individuals who have overstayed their visa, entered the country illegally, or done something fraudulent to appear eligible for benefits. Canada is an example of a country that’s considered the issues at hand.

Residents of Canadian provinces and territories are covered by public insurance. Territories and provinces are allowed to make their own requirements for their insurance (and what it covers), so long as it’s in compliance with CHA.

Individuals who are not Canadian residents are not covered by the universal healthcare system, though they are eligible for limited benefits. People who fall under this umbrella are undocumented immigrants, temporary visitors, illegal immigrants, and individuals who stay past their permit dates.

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