The health care debate in America is often framed by an artificial contest between Canada and the United States. Politicians have invented a mythology of ailing Canadians on waitlists for urgent surgeries and sick Canucks flooding through our northern border seeking “world class” care.
The National Population Health Survey which studied 18,000 Canadians found that only 90 of those Canadians had received care in the United States during the previous year. Of those 90, only 20 had gone to the United States for the sole purpose of health care. That’s 0.001 percent.
But if you’re Canadian, don’t get too excited.
The World Health Organization created “The world health report 2000 - Health systems: improving performance,” a rating of health systems throughout the world. It indicates that Canada and the United States don’t even make the top twenty, coming in at 30 and 37 respectively.
Published in 2000, the WHO study assessed countries based on three overall goals: good health, responsiveness to the expectations of the population, and fairness of financial contribution.
Here are the top 10:
3) San Marino
Dr. Gro Brundtland, the director-general of WHO, concluded that a country’s health system is the responsibility of its government.
Brundtland wrote, “The careful and responsible management of the well-being of the population– stewardship – is the very essence of good government. The health of people is always a national priority: government responsibility for it is continuous and permanent.”
According to the report, the objectives of a health system should be:
- Improving health
- Achieving the best attainable average level of care, referred to as "goodness."
- The smallest attainable differences in care between individuals and groups, or "fairness."
The poor suffer most in underperforming health care systems.