Canadian Healthcare System Evaluation


Canada is one of the countries characterized by the most efficient healthcare systems. The Canadian healthcare system is often regarded as a model for reforming the US system of health care. The system has certain downsides and Canadians admit that there are many points to improve. However, the benefits of the system are also acknowledged and often regarded as advantages that outweigh some disadvantages.

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Population Access

One of the major benefits of the Canadian healthcare system is universal coverage. The government covers possible expenses of the entire population (100%) irrespective of their socioeconomic status, race, and so on (Himmelstein et al., 2014). At that, there can be some issues when it comes to the access of immigrants, seasonal workers, and so on. It is also acknowledged that the waiting time is rather considerable, which is associated with the lack of healthcare professionals. At that, the population of the country mainly has a positive view of their healthcare system.

Types of the System

Canada has a single-payer healthcare system that implies the complete coverage of healthcare costs by the government (Schoen, Osborn, Squires, & Doty, 2013). The government allocates money to fund the healthcare system from the taxes obtained from its citizens. The Canadian government finances private providers of healthcare services, and people do not pay for the major services. The peculiarities of the system ensure its cost-effectiveness as the overall expenditure of the Canadian government is not high (as compared to other developed countries).

For example, the expenditure as a percentage of the country’s GDP is slightly over 10% (Shi & Singh, 2015). It is noteworthy that people still have to pay directly to health care providers in case of dental care, cosmetic surgery, and some other spheres. Importantly, the government constantly tries to control the costs of drugs. Such populations as the elderly receive free drugs.


The Canadian healthcare system is regarded as effective. First, it is cost-effective, which is important for the country’s economy. The government pays to private healthcare facilities and does not have to develop a network of public hospitals (Shi & Singh, 2015). The overall expenditure per capita is $158 (Himmelstein et al., 2014). Therefore, the funds can be used more efficiently, and more people can have access to healthcare.

The effectiveness of the system is also supported by some statistics. For instance, life expectancy for Canadian females is over 81 years while infant mortality is 4.8 per 1000 (Shi & Singh, 2015). The country also has quite a low percentage of obese people (slightly over 17%) (Himmelstein et al., 2014). Such figures may suggest that access to healthcare ensures quite remarkable public health.

One of the major issues of the system is associated with waiting times. Thus, one in four Canadians has to wait for over six days to see a doctor (Schoen et al., 2013). The situation is even worse when it comes to addressing a specialist as approximately 25% of Canadians have to wait for two months or more to see a specialist.

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USA Canada
People with insurance 81.3% 100%
Health care spending per capita $8,233 $4,445
Health care spending (% of GDP) 16.9% 10.9%
Life expectancy for women 78.7 81.5
Infant mortality per 1,000 6.1 4.8
Percentage of people who were seen by a specialist within four weeks 72-80% 39%


In conclusion, it is possible to note that the Canadian healthcare system can be regarded as effective. Governmental expenditure is not very high, especially when compared to other developed countries. The entire population has access to major healthcare services. Some statistics associated with public health also suggest that the system is effective. At that, the major issue is considerable waiting times, which is associated with the lack of healthcare professionals.


Himmelstein, D., Jun, M., Busse, R., Chevreul, K., Geissler, A., & Jeurissen, P., … Woolhandler, S. (2014). A comparison of hospital administrative costs in eight nations: US costs exceed all others by far. Health Affairs, 33(9), 1586-1594.

Schoen, C., Osborn, R., Squires, D., & Doty, M. (2013). Access, affordability, and insurance complexity are often worse in the United States compared to ten other countries. Health Affairs, 32(12), 2205-2215.

Shi, L., & Singh, D. (2015). Essentials of the U.S. health care system. Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Publishers.

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