Canadians Live Longer In Better Health Than Americans
In 2002 and 2003, the U.S. and Canada participated in a joint survey to compare the impact of health care in both countries. The findings,about to be published in BioMed Central's journal Population Health Metrics, favor Canadians for health and longevity.
The joint survey, the Canada/United States Survey of Health 2002/03, was conducted by telephone of 8,688 white Canadians and Americans to try to keep the data strictly about disparities in health and health care between the two populations.
The researchers learned that Canadians can expect to live in 'perfect health' 2.7 years longer than Americans although the richest Canadians live about 1.3 years longer than the poorest Canadians. Additionally, the Canadian life span is longer by more than two years; the average life expectancy for Canadians is 79.7 years and for Americans 77.2 years.
"Canada and the U.S. share a common border and enjoy very similar standards of living, yet life expectancy in Canada is higher than in the U.S.," said David Feeny, of the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Portland, Oregon, and a co-author of the study.
"There are two distinct potential explanations for the gap: differences in access to health care and in the prevalence of poverty," said Feeny, who supported the data as being "very high quality, consistent and comparable."
Canadians have a universal health care service which is free from cradle to birth, whereas Americans have less access to health care, because as a rule, health insurance is based on employment, Medicaid, or Medicare, so many Americans do not have consistent access to health care.
Despite lacking universal health care, the U.S spends more on public health care than the Canadians, which has been true, reportedly, since the 1970's.
Reuters, EurekAlert; study to be published as : Comparing population health in the United States and Canada; David H Feeny, Mark S. Kaplan, Nathalie Huguet and Bentson H McFarland Population Health Metrics (in press)