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Canada Specific Healthcare Question 10
Compare and contrast healthcare provision in Canada and the US
Canada and the US had healthcare systems that were relatively similar; however, in the 1960s the two systems diverged, creating the differing systems that are currently in place. Both countries utilise Medicare, a policy that provides healthcare to select groups of people who may experience financial difficulties in accessing healthcare, or to those who require more treatment, such as the elderly. Despite this, the ways in which these countries rely on Medicare varies. In Canada, Medicare covers around 70% of citizen’s health needs, with the remaining 30% being covered by the private sector. This latter proportion includes services such as dentistry and optometry, and the provision of prescription drugs, that are not encompassed by Medicare. In the US, however, Medicare covers more services, with private insurance playing a larger role in providing healthcare. Medicaid is also used, being a prominent method of individuals with a low-income accessing treatment, regardless of age, making it slightly dissimilar to Medicare which is only for those over the age of 65. This difference in the reliance on Medicare is mainly due to the US spending more on healthcare than Canada – 15.3% of its GDP goes towards healthcare, compared to 10% in Canada.
Ultimately, in the US there is an array of means of providing healthcare to high risk groups – for example, the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act exists to cater to the emergency services – whereas in Canada the system is more clear cut, with Medicare playing a larger role in providing healthcare.