Health Status, Health Care and Inequality: Canada vs. The U.S

44 Pages Posted: 24 Sep 2007 Last revised: 12 Sep 2010

See all articles by June O'Neill

June O'Neill

City University of New York, Baruch College - Zicklin School of Business - Department of Economics and Finance; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Dave M. O'Neill

City University of New York, Baruch College - Zicklin School of Business - Department of Economics and Finance

Date Written: September 2007

Abstract

Does Canada's publicly funded, single payer health care system deliver better health outcomes and distribute health resources more equitably than the multi-payer heavily private U.S. system? We show that the efficacy of health care systems cannot be usefully evaluated by comparisons of infant mortality and life expectancy. We analyze several alternative measures of health status using JCUSH (The Joint Canada/U.S. Survey of Health) and other surveys. We find a somewhat higher incidence of chronic health conditions in the U.S. than in Canada but somewhat greater U.S. access to treatment for these conditions. Moreover, a significantly higher percentage of U.S. women and men are screened for major forms of cancer. Although health status, measured in various ways is similar in both countries, mortality/incidence ratios for various cancers tend to be higher in Canada. The need to ration resources in Canada, where care is delivered "free", ultimately leads to long waits. In the U.S., costs are more often a source of unmet needs. We also find that Canada has no more abolished the tendency for health status to improve with income than have other countries. Indeed, the health-income gradient is slightly steeper in Canada than it is in the U.S.

Suggested Citation

O'Neill, June and O'Neill, Dave M., Health Status, Health Care and Inequality: Canada vs. The U.S (September 2007). NBER Working Paper No. w13429, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1016341

June O'Neill (Contact Author)

City University of New York, Baruch College - Zicklin School of Business - Department of Economics and Finance ( email )

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New York, NY 10010
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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Dave M. O'Neill

City University of New York, Baruch College - Zicklin School of Business - Department of Economics and Finance ( email )

17 Lexington Avenue
New York, NY 10010
United States

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