What the U.S. and Canada Are Ashamed to Admit

As the recent campaign for the Democratic nomination has shown, there is always much debate surrounding the issue of delivery of healthcare; specifically, what is the best way to deliver healthcare to citizens in the most cost-efficient manner? The U.S. healthcare system has provoked criticism due to its high cost and the fact that there are approximately 45 million people in the U.S. with no healthcare insurance.

The Canadian healthcare system has been offered up as an example of what Americans can aspire to; yet it has its own share of problems. Although every Canadian is entitled to free healthcare by law, wait times for some procedures and surgeries, as well as a shortage of doctors in some specialties, means that there is an increasing number of Canadians who believe that privatizing Canada’s healthcare system is the answer to the problem.

Is there a happy medium? Why is it that a model of healthcare hasn’t been developed that takes the best of each system and combines these virtues into a healthcare system in which every citizen has equal access to insurance that is affordable?

It has been suggested that the Canadian government should allow privatization of some parts of the healthcare system, such as diagnostic and surgical centers, in order to decrease wait times for some procedures that have excessively long wait times. Most Canadians have balked at this idea and fear that allowing privatization in some areas will lead to a two-tier system. Yet something must be done as the system is foundering.

The U.S. healthcare system is also foundering as many of the nation’s population have no access to healthcare despite living in one of the richest and most powerful nations in the world.

There is no easy answer to the problems of either country. Undeniably, each country will have to continue to look for a cure for their own particular woes. And, although we are allies, it is unlikely that the U.S. and Canada will look to each other for answers to these problems because then we would each have to admit that we have a problem.

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