eli5 what the difference is between the healthcare system in US and Canada?


Where I live the conventional wisdom is Canada has better healthcare because it’s more affordable. However I recently spoke to someone who worked in both Canadian and US hospitals and she said US had had more technology and more of a desire to stay competitive and welcome new patients. In both Canada and the US there is health insurance some employers offer so it’s not free in either country.

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US thinks they have it better as huge profits in providers pockets allow to hire more professional doctors and buy better medical tech. What they don’t understand is that it is not better if majority of nation can’t access that best tech. Is it better that minority of a nation accesses best medical aid in the world or that almost the whole nation has access to acceptable and good medical aid? Only fraction of cases require best of the best to operate your brain or heart and in most cases majority of medical experts are good enough to operate and a nation benefits if healthcare is included in tax and has access to not best, but good enough medical aid.

Also, it’s baseless argument to criticise national medical system funded by taxes. If we say that for example in Europe medical aid is “free”, we mean that we don’t need to save and have liquid funds to go to the hospital as we are taxed anyway and we are thankful, that small portion of the tax pool is used to fund healtcare.

Being better and being more affordable are two different characteristics that are only loosly connected. The top notch healthcare in the USA is mostly better than the same service elsewhere. HRHS treatment for example at the best childrens hospital in the US can run up a 7 digit price tag where as where I live it’s 5 digits and compleatly covered by insurance. But if only a tiny percentage of the country can afford it, it doesn’t really help the overall health of the population.
That is where affordabilty matters. Countries with a public system usually regulate how much companies can charge for a service or product, which means it becomes more accesable. But also means you don’t get the top notch treatment or your wait times might be longer.

Its all well and good being competitive but what does it matter if those worst off in society can’t acces care?

Also, canada has free healthcare as well as private healthcare you can get through employers. This is not uncommon in countries with universal.

Canada probably not the best example of healthcare though given that their solution for a lot of disabled people is to convince them to have euthanasia.

USA has some of the top doctors and medical scientists working to create breakthrough drugs and medicine, like Stem cell transplant to cure leukemia. But if you want something as simple as a CT scan, in Japan that costs 70 dollars where in the US it would be well over 1000. Don’t get me started on insulin.

Having breakthrough cutting edge medicine and medical technology != affordable basic routine medicine and medical procedures that is crucial to the populace as a whole.

Canada is free. However some of the provinces have been having crises with their healthcare systems leading to very long waiting times. Thus some people their turn to the private sector in order to get care quicker.