Health and Medicine:
Health systems or health care system is a vital tools for the overall growth and development of individuals, families and societies. This essay deals with learning about two healthcare models and how shall they best serve Canada’s current and future healthcare needs.
The European Socialist Model:
The European socialist model is a model adopted by many European states that believe in economic growth with high living standards and good working conditions.
A social welfare model is a system that involves social policies that affect the welfare of a country’s citizens within the framework of a market or mixed economy. European countries have a social model that includes a commitment to full employment, social protection and most importantly universal health care ( Busch et al., 2013).
Universal health care is a socialist approach that these countries adopt. This health care system provides all residents of the particular country access to health care. These are funded by the government. It has three critical dimensions- who is covered, what services are covered and how much of the cost is covered. This gives citizens access to health care without incurring financial hardships. But it is not that private insurance is not in the game. European countries have a rule of Compulsory Insurance, where the insurance is either paid by the individual or the government pays for it ( Busch et al., 2013). Both private and universal health care co-exist.
The American Capitalist model:
Unlike Europe, America has a capitalist model. The capitalist model is a model where private individuals or businesses own capital goods. The production of goods and services is based on supply and demand in the general market- known as the market economy rather than through a command economy, i.e. through a planned economy. The government here has little to no intervention in public services.
American healthcare systems do not rely on a universal health care system. Health care systems in the US are owned by private sector businesses. The US spends $9403 on health care per capita. Health care is provided through a combination of private health insurance and public health coverage for example Medicare, Medicaid, etc. It has the most expensive healthcare system which is again worst-performing in terms of healthcare access. This leads to people not being able to buy health insurance and thus the individual has a lower life expectancy.
3. Elements of the above models that can serve Canada’s current and future health care needs:
Canada’s healthcare system is a publicly funded healthcare system informally called Medicare. It is guided by the provisions of the Canada Health Act of 1984 and is also universal (Universal health care model). 70% of Canadian health care is covered by Canadian Medicare and the remaining 30% is through the private sector. This means that the government has substantial involvement in the health care model.
3.1 Canada and European socialist model:
According to the current status, the Canadian government maintains the quality of health care through federal standards. The government has made access to cost-effective health care. The doctors in each province are in charge of the insurance claims made by the patients. The private healthcare expenditure is drastically reducing day by day. Charities are being set up such as the Canadian Cancer Society which provides basic amenities such as transportation for patients (here). Sometimes a small charge is required for consultations made over the phone. Varieties of health care programs are being launched by the government, which can be taken up by patients according to their disease. This is generally done through the help of a Health card which is issued by the provincial health ministry. This ensures everyone who has enrolled on the programs receives the same level of care. The health insurance is not affected by loss or change of jobs and cannot be denied due to unpaid premiums.
Thus it can be observed that just like the European socialist model which has a great involvement of the government, Canada is also adapting gradually to this model. It is including the element of government indulgence in its healthcare system which was not there before the Canada Health Act. Moreover, the Canada Health Act puts restrictions on privately funded healthcare.
3.2 Canada and American capitalist model:
`Canada has always been ahead of the US in terms of health care and the above-mentioned socialist model is adapted from the European socialist model. Although the US spends a greater share of its GDP on health care in comparison to Canada, Canada can stay in the lead by minimising the dependency on the private sector. Research has shown that Canadians have a higher life expectancy than Americans.
But there lie two flaws which the Canadian model should eradicate by considering elements from the American model-
1. Quality of government-aided healthcare in Canada vs. private-aided healthcare in the US
2. Wait times
3.2.1 Quality of healthcare:
Although the cost of health care in the US is significantly higher than that of Canada, the quality of healthcare in the US is much better than that of Canada. The high price that one pays is actually worth the money. Insurance coverage in the US will get you a good hospital, talented medical staff and best-in-class equipment.
Unlike in Canada, although healthcare is free, the quality of hospitals, doctors and equipment are not up to date in certain provinces.
Thus, Canada should try and provide quality healthcare to its citizens.
3.2.2 Wait time:
This is a topic that has been in discussion for the past couple of years. Canadian wait time is extremely long in comparison to other countries. One might have to wait from a period of two weeks to 90 days before getting an appointment. Although urgent cases are prioritized, one might have to wait for four hours before getting admitted into a hospital. In Ontario, the wait time for a knee replacement is 4 months. This might deteriorate the health of the patient even more.
But this isn’t the case with the US. Wait times in the US are much shorter than that in Canada. Several years have passed with the government claiming that they have invested a great chunk of money to solve this issue, yet the wait time improvements were negligible according to a 2016 study.
Thus, Canada should implement the idea of proper utilisation of government funds like the US to solve basic problems like wait time.
From the above paragraphs it has been clear that for a country to prosper, the healthcare system should be on top of the priority list. For that to work efficiently, providing affordable health care is necessary which Canada has adopted properly from the European socialist model.
But, in that process, it is important to make sure that the quality and patient satisfaction is not compromised. Canada needs to implement some of the elements of the US healthcare system to eradicate a few flaws and hopefully in a few years from now, it shall prove to be the best healthcare system.