Friday, April 20, 2007

More for less, and vice versa

Canada tops U.S. in health care comparison study

Canada's health-care system is as good or better than that of the United States and is delivered at half the cost, new research suggests.

A review in the inaugural issue of online medical journal Open Medicine, which was launched Tuesday by a group of doctors who left the Canadian Medical Association Journal last year over an editorial dispute, examined the results 38 major studies that compared health outcomes of patients in the two countries.

It found that while the United States spent an average of $7,129 US per person on health care in 2006, compared with $2,956 USper person in Canada, more studies favoured the latter country in terms of morbidity and mortality.

They covered a wide range of diseases and conditions including cancer, coronary artery disease.

One of the lead authors of the meta-analysis said while critics advocate moving towards a more American model of private insurance, two-tier medicine and for-profit providers to improve delivery of care here, the evidence suggests it would be a bad move.

"There are issues in our healthcare system, but a lot of the people that are really pushing it to make it sound more dramatic than what it is have the potential to actually gain a lot financially (from for-profit care)," said McMaster University professor Dr. P.J. Devereaux.

"So part of it is to give people a reality check that, in fact, we actually have very good health outcomes in Canada," he added. "On the whole, they are equal to, and in many situations better than, the Americans' despite the fact that we're spending less than half the amount of money they're spending."
Relevant comments here.