The American healthcare is in danger of collapsing leaving millions of Americans without any kind of coverage. According to the Canadian Healthcare website, Canada's health care system is a group of socialized health insurance plans that provides coverage to all Canadian citizens. It is publicly funded and administered on a provincial or territorial basis, within guidelines set by the federal government. Under the health care system, individual citizens are provided preventative care and medical treatments from primary care physicians as well as access to hospitals, dental surgery, and additional medical services. With a few exceptions, all citizens qualify for health coverage regardless of medical history, personal income, or standard of living.
The Canada Health Act is federal legislation that puts in place conditions by which individual provinces and territories in Canada may receive funding for health care services.
There are five main principles in the Canada Health Act:
Public Administration: All administration of provincial health insurance must be carried out by a public authority on a non-profit basis. They also must be accountable to the province or territory, and their records and accounts are subject to audits.
Comprehensiveness: All necessary health services, including hospitals, physicians, and surgical dentists, must be insured.
Universality: All insured residents are entitled to the same level of health care.
Portability: A resident that moves to a different province or territory is still entitled to coverage from their home province during a minimum waiting period. This also applies to residents which leave the country.
Accessibility: All insured persons have reasonable access to health care facilities. In addition, all physicians, hospitals, etc, must be provided reasonable compensation for the services they provide.
Health insurance in Canada is handled by individual provinces and territories. New residents to a particular province must apply for health coverage. Upon being granted health coverage, a health card is issued which provides coverage in that particular province or territory.
Healthcare in the United Kingdom is a devolved matter, with England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales each having their own systems of publicly funded healthcare, funded by and accountable to separate governments and parliaments, together with the smaller private sector and voluntary provision. As a result of each country having different policies and priorities, a variety of differences now exists between these systems. However, we are going to look specifically the National Healthcare Services (NHC).
The National Health Service (NHS) is the publicly funded national healthcare system for England and one of the four National Health Services of the United Kingdom. It is the largest and the oldest single-payer healthcare system in the world. Primarily funded through the general taxation system and overseen by the Department of Health, the system provides healthcare to every legal resident in England, with most services free at the point of use. Some services, such as emergency treatment and treatment of infectious diseases are free for everyone, including visitors.
Free healthcare at the point of use comes from the core principles at the founding of the National Health Service by the Labour government in 1948. In practice, "free at the point of use" normally means that anyone legitimately fully registered with the system (i.e. in possession of an NHS number), including UK citizens and legal immigrants, can access the full breadth of critical and non-critical medical care without any out-of-pocket payment. Some specific NHS services do however require a financial contribution from the patient, for example, eye tests, dental care, prescriptions, and aspects of long-term care. However, these charges are often free to vulnerable or low-income groups, and when not free, often lower than equivalent services provided by a private health care provider.
This system is also remarkably cheap as well. Approximately 9.5% of Canada's gross domestic product (GDP) is spent on healthcare, and in the UK approximately 8.8% of the GDP is spent on healthcare. In comparison, here in the United States, we spend close to 14% of our GDP on healthcare. In 2014, the Commonwealth Fund declared that in comparison with the healthcare systems of 10 other countries (Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the US) the NHS was the most impressive overall. The NHS was rated as the best system in terms of efficiency, effective care, safe care, coordinated care, patient-centred care and cost-related problems. It was also ranked second for equity.
Based on this, if public health care is so cheap in these two countries why do we not have it in the US? Because of big business. I will insist that congress comes up with a plan that will bring America into the 21st century and give us a similar public healthcare system that all Americans can be proud of.