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March 01, 2010

Canada on a Roll - Better at Hockey, Universal Healthcare, Safer and More Stable Banks

Sidney Crosby helped save Canada from a nervous breakdown with the winning goal in a 3-2 victory over the United States in Olympic Hockey


Healthcare
Nextbigfuture has looked at comparisons of Canada and the United States healthcare systems before

* Canadians spend about 55% of what Americans spend on health care and have longer life expectancy, and lower infant mortality rates.
* The gap between U.S. and Canadian spending on health care administration has grown to $752 per capita.
* Studies by the Commonwealth Fund found that 42% of Canadians waited 2 hours or more in the emergency room, vs. 29% in the U.S.; 57% waited 4 weeks or more to see a specialist, vs. 23% in the U.S., but Canadians had more chances of getting medical attention at nights, or on weekends and holidays than their American neighbors without the need to visit an ER (54% compared to 61%). However, statistics from the free market think tank Fraser Institute in 2008 indicate that the average wait time between the time when a general practitioner refers a patient for care and the receipt of treatment was almost four and a half months in 2008, roughly double what it had been 15 years before.

The CATO institute defended the US healthcare system



* all national health care systems ration care (waiting lists or denial to some people)
* United States spends more on health care than any other country. CATO institute says this is not a bad thing
* America offers the highest quality health care in the world
* Most of the world's top doctors, hospitals and research facilities are located in the United States. Eighteen of the last 25 winners of the Nobel Prize in Medicine either are U.S. citizens or work here. U.S. companies have developed half of all the major new medicines introduced worldwide over the past 20 years. And Americans played a key role in 80 percent of the most important medical advances of the past 30 years.

Tanner of the CATO institute has a book Healthy Competion which looks at what he considers the best ideas for healthcare reform
America's health care system is at a crossroads, faced with rising costs, quality concerns, and a lack of patient control. Some blame market forces. Yet many troubles can be traced directly to pervasive government influence: entitlements, tax laws, and costly regulations. Consumer choice and competition deliver higher quality and lower prices in other areas of the economy. The authors conclude that removing restrictions can do the same for health care.

Ourfuture.org provided some mythbusting about the Canadian Healthcare system

Canada has "single-payer insurance." In Americans terms it is "Medicare for all."

Canada's Mortage and Banking System - No Bank failures during the Great Depression or recent financial Crisis

What about the Canadian banking system allowed it to survive the recent worldwide slowdown, and even the Great Depression, without a single bank failure, and what can the United States learn from Canada about sound banking?
When almost 3,000 American banks failed during the Savings and Loan (S&L) Crisis, only two small Canadian banks failed in 1985, and those were the first bank failures in Canada since 1923. And while almost 200 U.S. banks have failed since the start of the global recession in early 2008, Canada remains the only industrialized country in the world that has survived the last two years of financial and economic stress without a single bank failure.

1. Almost all Canadian mortgages are “full recourse” loans, meaning that the borrower remains fully responsible for the mortgage even in the case of foreclosure.

2. Shorter-Term Fixed Rates in Canada. Canadian mortgages carry a fixed interest rate for a maximum of five years, and rates are then re-negotiated for the next five years, similar to a five-year adjustable rate.

3. Mortgage Insurance Is More Common in Canada than in the United States.

4. No Tax Deductibility of Mortgage Interest in Canada
Interestingly, even without any tax advantage for home ownership, the Canadian homeownership rate (69 percent) is actually higher than in the United States (67.2 percent).

5. Higher Prepayment Penalties in Canada.

6. Public Policy Differences for Low-Income Housing.

7. Differences in Canada’s Bank Concentration and Greater Diversification.

8. A Few Other Differences that Contribute to Bank Safety in Canada. Like 68% of the loans stay on the books of the originating bank in Canada.

Pubic Debt Levels

The United States has passed Canada to have a higher percentage of public debt versus GDP.

US/Canada Unemployment

In 2010, Canadian unemployment is in the 8% range versus the USA in the 10% range.

Canada had a big economic slump in the 1990s and the US appears to be going through something similar now. Canada had a lot more debt and unemployment compared to the US at that time.


Per Capita GDP

The US is ahead of Canada in per capita GDP measures




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