Health Care Systems Compare and Contrast

As a country we are facing currently facing a problem based on health care. Every country has their own way of doing things, but which way makes the most sense? Statistics show that Canada’s health care system is working for them, but will it work for the United States? Ezekial J. Emanuel, Holly Dressel, and together, Karen Davis, Cathy Shoen, Katharine Shea, and Kristine Haran, all address possible solutions to this problem. While Emanuel feels that America’s system is sufficient, Dressel, Davis, Shoen, Shea, and Haran believe there are better options. These authors evaluate the different systems based on quality, cost, and accessibility.

Emanuel (2008) believes that the care that is received in a single-payer plan is much poorer than most people realize (p. 567). It is not uncommon for many of the services to be harmful or un-beneficial. Doctors are going to want to do the bare minimum amount of care in order to save money. With a lot of conditions there are not set numbers with how many doctor visits are necessary. Even though a patient may require multiple visits to the hospital, they may only have. This will also keep costs down and patients will not even know they are receiving less efficient care. According to Emanuel (2008), the system is established for acute care and the need is for chronic care (p.567). This shows that by changing the system people may not receive the amount of care necessary.

Dressel, Davis, Shoen, Shea, and Haran (2008) all argue that Canada has shown statistically that their health care system is better. According to Dressel, America spends more money on health care than Canada, but have higher infant mortality rates and an average lower life expectancy (p. 573). Canada and America used to be equal, but since Canada changed their system the numbers have changed, and they have pushed ahead. Davis, Shoen, Shea, and Haran explain that it is becoming harder for Americans to access quality care because of insurance rates (p. 3). Not only has the number of uninsured Americans grown, but so has the number of “underinsured”.

Emanuel (2008) explains that costs in a single-payer plan are much harder to control and costs inflate annually (p.569). In order to keep costs down, advanced technology would be required, but this would just require more money. Fewer people would have jobs and this would mean less expertise. Things like reducing administrative wastes are onetime savings. There is no way to control costs effectively in a single-payer plan without having negative consequences.

Dressel shows that death rates in for-profit hospitals are significantly higher than in nonprofit hospitals. These deaths were related to “the corners that for-profit hospitals must cut in order to achieve a profit margin for investors, as well as to pay high salaries for administrators” (p.573-574). Even though the lower classes have access to health care currently, they do not receive the same care. Social standing and costs affect what kind of care you will receive as a patient.

According to Davis, Shoen, Shea, and Haran (2008) “poor access to health care likely explains why twenty-one percent of sicker adults in the U.S. went to the difficulty getting an appointment or care after-hours undermines the quality of care for those with chronic conditions (p. 9). Budget cuts in a single-payer plan means that waiting lists will become more common. People will be put on waiting lists for services such as MRI’s, and the upper class will have access first. The single-payer plan will not solve the complications with differences in social standings.

To decide what health care system is best one must consider the quality, cost, and accessibility factors of each. Emanuel, Dressel, Davis, Shoen, Shea, and Haran all have their own opinions, but it is still not clear what system is the most beneficial. Health care in Canada is different than here in the United States, but it is arguable of which country’s system is better. It is also debatable of whether the U.S. can adapt a different system and still be successful. This is a current problem in society and should not be ignored.

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