The Canadian Healthcare System: What can the United States Learn?
Updated: Sep 27, 2020
The Canadian healthcare system has been regarded as one of the best healthcare systems in the world. Many American politicians, namely Bernie Sanders, have praised the healthcare system of our northern neighbors and view Canadian healthcare as a great example of a functioning single-payer system. The question then is, can we really learn anything from the healthcare system of Canada?
The majority of the Canadian public views healthcare as an expression of core values. Canadians believe healthcare is essential to their identity and 86.2% of Canadians are for strengthening public healthcare, compared to the 50% of Americans that support a national health plan. The truth is that healthcare reform in Canada, and other countries with public healthcare, was able to be implemented due to the public’s widespread support. The nation itself had to value single-payer or universal healthcare to be able to implement change. The United States’ healthcare system won’t see a radical change until public opinion shifts more favorably towards government-funded healthcare. A nationwide discussion on this topic must be made.
The Canadian healthcare system prioritizes profit over its people, unlike the American healthcare system. It is illegal to buy private insurance that could compete with the government’s insurance. This allows all Canadians to be treated equally despite their economic status. In comparison, healthcare in the US continues to be primarily provided by private insurances, which prioritizes profit over people. This system allows for inequality to run rampant. Around 27.5 million Americans are uninsured, which is 8.5 percent of the population. The Canadian healthcare system offers healthcare to all of its citizens, while the American healthcare system leaves millions of its citizens uninsured. Canada teaches us that a government-run healthcare system would benefit low-income citizens,
The Canadian healthcare system can serve as an example to the US. Although adopting a system exactly like Canada’s in the US is not probable, the United States should still strive to ensure that all Americans, regardless of economic status, are able to have healthcare. The truth remains that the Canadian healthcare system is made for people, not for profit. Prioritizing citizens and not profit is a valuable lesson that the United States has yet to learn from its northern neighbors.