NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Process versus Results

June 19, 2012

There have been many debates through the years about whether the Canadian health care system is better than the American system.  The reason: there are a lot of people who advocate single-payer health insurance, by which they mean a system in which government pays all the medical bills.  There are basically only three genuine single-payer systems in the world: Canada, Cuba and North Korea, says NCPA President and CEO John C. Goodman in his new book, Priceless: Curing the Healthcare Crisis.

There are multiple responses to counter those who advocate single-payer:

  • The U.S. system is more egalitarian than the Canadian system (and more egalitarian than the health systems of most other developed countries as well).
  • Uninsured Americans get as much as or more preventive care than insured Canadians (as many or more mammograms, PSA tests, colonoscopies, etc.).
  • Low-income whites in the United States are in better health than low-income whites in Canada.
  • Although minorities do less well in both countries, we treat our minority populations better than the Canadians do.
  • Even though thousands of people in both countries go to hospital emergency rooms for care they can't get anywhere else, people in our emergency rooms get treated more quickly and with better results than people in Canadian emergency rooms.

In Canada, what care you receive, where you receive it, and how you receive it is not determined by individual choice and the marketplace.  It is determined collectively.  For some people, that's an end in itself, says Goodman.

Source: John C. Goodman, Priceless: Curing the Healthcare Crisis, Independent Institute, June 2012.

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