Policy and Structural Differences in American and Canadian Systems

Policy and structural differences in American and Canadian Welfare system

There used to be some point of convergence in the American and Canadian health care system before Canada deemed it appropriate to restructure her health care system. The United States spends more of its revenue on health care than Canada. In 2006, the Canadian government spent a total of US $3,678 compared to US, $6,714 on health care for each citizen. Whatever the US spent on health care in 2006 was 15.3 percent of the Gross Domestic Product whereas Canada spent 10 percent of her GDP. Canada uses single-payer health care system which covers 70 percent of health costs. Canadian Health Act compels all insured persons to be fully insured for hospital and physician care. 91 percent of hospital expenses and 99 percent of physician services are paid for by public sector. United States has a hybrid system where both public and private sectors are involved in provision of health care services. About 16 percent of American citizens are uninsured. The major structural difference in the health care system of the two countries stems from the health insurance provider. Canadian government has proved supportive of the provincial governments particularly those that meet the laid down guidelines in the Canadian Health Act. The Act outlaws health care institutions and physicians from charging patients for procedures and services covered by Medicare. This has led to Canadian health insurance being labeled a social insurance system. On the other hand, the United States government directly funds the health care system. Funding is normally done to Medicare and State Children Health Insurance Program. The health care scheme covers the old, the poor, the disabled and children. Veterans Administrations cover the ex-soldiers and their families.. The salaries and wages received by physicians in United States are twice compared to that in Canada. US spends more on technological advancements in the medical sector than their neighbor. In 2004, research findings of a study undertaken to examine the education system in both the United States and Canada revealed a high level of disparity as far as the issue of MRI accessibility is concerned.

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Policy and structural differences in American and Canadian education system

The education system in Canada is mainly managed through public and private partnerships. Basic education is provided by community and secondary schools which are supplemented by courses offered by training and language schools. Summer schools and university colleges offer tertiary education in Canada. Canadian universities are funded by the public and have a high degree of academic autonomy. There are notable differences between education systems in several provinces in Canada. Education in Canada begins at elementary school, and proceeds up to high school, which comprises classes 9 to 12. Post-secondary institutions offer programs like certificates, diplomas and degrees. Adult and vocational training are also offered. The colleges belong to an umbrella body, Association of Canadian Community Colleges. A majority of the degree programs at the undergraduate level take years. On the other hand, a postgraduate student would need two years to complete his/her masters’ program. Primary and secondary education in America lasts a maximum of 12 years after which one can proceed to the university or a college. The education system in both public and private. Funding mainly comes from federal, state and local authorities. Curricula, funding and teaching mode are determined by school boards who have power over school districts. School districts have independent funding processes. Standards of education are set by state governments. The state sets ages for compulsory education. Education system is divided into three levels: elementary, middle and high school. Governance in post-secondary education is different from that in elementary and high schools. After high school one can join the bachelor’s degree program as a college freshman. Thereafter, the student can proceed to take master’s degree, and then from masters to doctorate level.

Policy and structural differences between American and Canadian labor system

There are notable differences between Canada and United States employee benefit systems, especially in the health care systems. Canadian health care is provided public-funded through provincial and territorial plans whereas the United States involves public and private sectors financed largely by the employer contributions and payroll taxes. Canadian government involvement in providing retirement income encompasses three major programs compared to one in the United States. Private pension plans are less important in Canada than in US. Both countries have put in place family and medical leave provisions for the workers through legal mandates. The opportunity to return to similar job position after leave is also safeguarded. The US has the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993 while the Canadians rely on legal mandates in the provincial governments. However, Canada also safeguards the wage replacement benefits that are payable to the workers for the duration they are out of work unlike in the United States. There is a similarity in the two countries’ pension systems whereby the governments do not charge personal income tax on employer contributions especially those channeled to the privately run pension schemes. In Canada, all worker’s contributions to the country’s private pension plans are tax-deductible unlike in the United States where the worker must participate in an equal plan or above 401k to benefit from this incentive. The Canadian authorities have also come up with a lower limit of savings to the various pension schemes on offer unlike in the US where the limits are left to market dynamics.

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