First of all, the requirement for high quality care, doubled by the social responsibility to patients, is counterbalanced by an increasing pressure to lower costs and to remain afloat financially. The Canadian model, on the other hand, is designed as public service, with health care provided considering medical needs first, and the ability to pay later. This, however, leads to high health costs supported by the government and to a lower quality and efficiency of services. The present paper will compare and contrast the two systems at four different levels: access, cost, quality and continuity.
As far as access is concerned, there are fundamental differences between the two models. The health care system in Canada is characterized by universal access, with all residents being entitled to insured health services. In the US, by contrast, access is determined by the extent and type of the coverage, with no universal pubic health insurance plan (Madore, 1992). The two completely different approaches lead to major differences in coverage: whereas in Canada everybody benefits from the public health insurance, in the United States more than 10% of the population isn't covered at all.
In the matter of costs, both countries allocate significant proportions of their income to health care.