Looking at American Health Care

Recently, healthcare has received much coverage as America is expecting a change in power and therefore ideals. Especially in the COVID-19 climate, healthcare and the quality of healthcare seem to be more important than ever. However, how does American healthcare compare to other countries’ healthcare systems, for example Canada and the UK? Let us look more in depth in the comparison between the United States’ and Canada’s healthcare systems. 

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), The United States ranks 37th in the world compared to Canada being 30th. However, the surveys conducted to determine this rank are based on subjective polling standards, bearing no real judgment on the quality of healthcare.

Next, it is imperative that we look at differences between the two healthcare systems. The main differences between these two are in how they are operated. The United States has a private healthcare system while Canada has implemented free healthcare for all. As both are drastically different, the funds for each system vary. The US healthcare system is funded in two different ways. The first and primary way is from private healthcare companies offering their services. The second, less common, way is from government funding directly acquired from taxes. The Canadian healthcare system is also funded similarly. The biggest difference between the two is that Canada’s healthcare is paid for by means of an increased amount of taxes.  The lowest tax bracket for Canadians is 15 percent, while the lowest tax bracket for Americans is 10 percent. 

Furthermore, we must look at one of the most common issues when discussing American healthcare: the infant mortality rate. Many talk about how, compared to other countries, the United States’ infant mortality rate is so high. However, compared to other countries, the United States measures their infant mortality rate differently. The United States defines infant mortality rate as the death of an infant under one year of age. Moreover, the United States also counts premature babies as deaths and counts them as being “born.” In fact, if a baby is less than one pound after 21 weeks, some countries do not even count these babies as born. To sum up, the United States has calculated infant mortality rate differently and this leads to a higher infant mortality rate.

When comparing healthcare systems, medical facilities and tools must be addressed. Compared to Canada, the United States has nine times the amount of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines, four times the amount of lithotripsy units (used for treating kidney stones) and three times more computed tomography (CT) scanners. This advanced medical machinery saves many patients from things such as cancer, kidney stones and more every year. In fact, it can take about 11 weeks to get an MRI scan in Canada compared to America’s 20-minute wait time. By the time you are able to get an MRI in Canada, your cancer would have progressed exceedingly making it more difficult to reverse. To put this into perspective, 1 million Canadians waited for medical treatment in 2017, costing the country 1.9 billion Canadian Dollars in lost wages. When also going to see your yearly physician, Canadians also have to wait three and a half weeks longer to get an appointment than what most physicians consider clinically reasonable.

To conclude, I will briefly compare the United States’ and United Kingdom’s hospitals. Remember that the UK has the number one healthcare system. Compared to the United States, however, the UK has a death rate that is four times higher due to waiting times, lack of machinery, and many other things that the United States does differently. Analyzing these numbers, is it fair to put the United States at the lowest tier of the healthcare system compared to Canada and the UK?