USA, Canada, and Germany’s Health Care Systems

To control the state of the citizens’ health is one of the main government’s tasks in any country which is realized with the help of supporting the definite health care system based on a range of specific principles. Different countries use various approaches to solving their citizens’ health issues. The U.S. health care system is often discussed as one of the most effective in the world which provides the necessary services of high quality and depends on the latest technological accomplishments in the sphere. However, the particular features of its financing influence the necessity of comparing the U.S. health care system with the other countries’ systems in order to determine the similarities and differences in overcoming the economic and social issues. The organization of the health care system’s public and private financing in the United States is often analyzed with references to such challenges as the significance of private insurances for people, high costs, and the comparably high level of infant mortality. That is why, it is important to contrast the characteristic features of the U.S. health care system with the health care systems in Canada and Germany, to pay attention to the effectiveness of the different approaches, and to focus on such criteria as costs, services, and outcomes.

The United States’ Health Care System

The U.S. health care system is characterized by the significant role of private insurers in the sector. The next feature is high costs which are usually associated with the high quality of services and with the active use of innovative technologies in providing the necessary care and treatment. Based on the private insurance organization, the U.S. health care system can be discussed as rather inappropriate for meeting the interests of low-income categories of the country’s population. The public fund organized for low-income people is significantly less than the private sector. That is why, it is almost impossible to discuss the U.S. health care system as following the principles of only national health service or only private health service because of using both the approaches to the realization of the health care programs (Shi, 2004).

The efforts of the U.S. Government are directed towards working out the program for reducing the health care system costs because of their inappropriately high level. In spite of the fact the impact of politics on the health care system should be minimal, it is important to control and regulate the costs. The Affordable Care Act was proposed to overcome the issue. The high costs are affected by the concentration of the system on implementing new technologies, specific requirements to prescribing drugs, and tendencies in the progress of chronic diseases. A lot of Americans with low incomes cannot receive the necessary care because of the costs and lack of insurance. There are different insurance programs for employees, but the public sector is not developed enough.

The Americans have the opportunity to receive a variety of services of high quality. Having private insurance, persons can receive different types of hospital care and preventive services. Moreover, they have the access to modern technologies. However, the range of services and innovations in treatment do not provide the improvement of the Americans’ health state because of the high costs and peculiarities of the average Americans’ lifestyle (Shi & Singh, 2011). Furthermore, the U.S. health care system is not universal in comparison with Germany and Canada’s systems. The definite drawbacks in developing the health care system in the USA are reflected in such outcomes as the features of the pre-or post-natal care and the high level of adult and infant mortality. This rate is not correlated with the quality of the services provided.

Thus, it is possible to speak about the qualified pre-or post-natal care or the family medical leave only with references to the public’s having the insurance. The distinguishing features of insurance coverage are closely connected with the aspects of employer-based insurance and family medical leave. The health care providers are predominantly private, and the role of the public providers is insignificant. That is why the reduced character of the public financing in the sphere of health care makes a lot of Americans unsatisfied with the system and diminishes their chances to receive the necessary care.

Canada’s Health Care System

In spite of the fact, the health care system of Canada can be discussed as having a lot of similarities with the health care system of the USA, the experience of Canada is often considered as more progressive in relation to the typical features of the system’s organization, its financing and regulation. It is the fact that Canada has the national health insurance system which is funded and regulated by the government, but it is not provided publicly. The usage of the private insurance is realized with references to providing the public programs in the sphere. The Canadians have the universal access to their health care system when the Americans do not have such a possibility. The single-payer system depends on the strong public administration and qualified private services. That is why, the costs are correlated with the quality of the provided services. Canada’s health care system costs are considerably lower than the U.S. medical costs. The lower expenditures in Canada’s health care system are associated with the lower costs.

The accent on the private medical services and facilities contributes to increasing their level and quality. The aspects of the public funding do not limit the persons’ opportunity to have the access to a range of medical services. All the services are provided according to the national standards which are regulated in relation to the country’s regions. Thus, the Canadians have the unrestricted and publicly financed access to hospitals and dental surgery, and the fact can be discussed as the benefit of the system. Nevertheless, the system has a significant challenge caused by the public character of funding which is the long waiting time for receiving the specialized care.

The outcomes of using the single-payer system in Canada are positive because of the fact the quality of the services is comparable with those ones provided in the USA, and it is achieved with lower costs. Moreover, the particular features of the insurance coverage and public financing when all the population of the country has the access to high-quality medical care, including the pre- and post-natal care, create conditions for the effective family medical leave and providing definite premiums (Fierlbeck, 2011). Thus, the health care providers in the country are predominantly private. Nevertheless, the role of the providers is regulated with the help of possibility to choose between public and private hospitals and care services. However, there is also an issue which cannot be explained from the point of health care system’s features or other factors. It is the level of the infant mortality which is high either for the USA or for Canada without references to the different approaches to the health care system’s organization.

Germany’s Health Care System

The health care system in Germany can be discussed as the multi-payer system. It is based on the effective balance of public and private controlling and financing with references to providing the necessary insurance for the population. Germany’s health care system as well as the U.S. system is based on the progress of the new technologies and innovations in medicine. The quality of the provided services is similar to the level of the health care in the USA. Moreover, the costs are also high. Nevertheless, the possibility to have the access to any required service in spite of the status contributes to presenting the effective correlation between the costs and quality of the services in Germany. Moreover, the costs are regulated regionally and with the help of the ‘sickness funds’. Thus, the health care system in Germany is decentralized (Armstrong, Fischer, Parsa-Parsi, & Wetzel, 2011).

The variety of the services provided is comparable with those facilities accessed in the USA and depends on the progress of Germany in the sphere of medical innovations. The services can be accessed with the help of the private insurance and ‘sickness funds’. It is important to note that the percentage of the persons who use the private insurance is significantly lower than the number of those people who rely on the public provisions. The public services include the access to the necessary doctors and representatives of the alternative medicine, public and private hospitals and blood donor centers. The practice of doctors is connected with the practice of insurers which make the system work as an effective organization. Thus, the health care system in Germany is based on private, non-profit, and rarely for-profit insurers, and the fact influences the lowering of costs and stable high quality of the services (Armstrong et al., 2011).

The obvious positive outcomes of Germany’s health care system for the population are in the fact all the categories of citizens have the opportunity to receive the qualified care and treatment because of the developed system of social insurance which depends on non-profit ‘sickness funds’. The effective combination of the public funds and private practices contributes to the high level of the people’s health care in the country with references to the low rates of the infant mortality and concentration on social benefits and family leaves.

It is possible to conclude that the health care system of Germany is comparable with the system of the USA in relation to the quality of the services, but Germany’s focus on the social insurance is more advantageous and effective because a lot of Americans have no access to the qualified medical care due to the system of private insurance and high costs. Canada’s system combines the public and private aspects in controlling, financing, and providing the care, but the costs and the level of the infant mortality are still high, and the most obvious advantage of Canada’s system in comparison with the U.S. system is the universal access to services.


Armstrong, E. G., Fischer, M. R., Parsa-Parsi, R. W., & Wetzel, M. S. (2011). The health care dilemma: A comparison of health care systems in three European countries and the US. USA: World Scientific Publishing Company.

Fierlbeck, K. (2011). Health care in Canada: A citizen’s guide to policy and politics. Canada: University of Toronto Press.

Shi, L. (2004). Essentials of the U.S. health care system. USA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.

Shi, L., & Singh, D. A. (2011). Delivering health care in America: A systems approach. USA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

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