Cost Control in a Parallel Universe: Medicare Spending in the United States and Canada

JAMA Network: 10/29/12

As the United States was implementing Medicare in 1966, Canada was phasing in its own Medicare program, which covered all Canadians under provincially administered plans. While these provincial plans varied, all incorporated significant payment reforms—global budgeting of hospitals and stringent capital expenditure controls—and banned copayments and deductibles.

Before the mid-1960s, the 2 nations’ health care financing systems were similar, and health care costs were comparable.Since then, overall US costs have grown more rapidly, but no study has compared spending for the elderly—the populations covered by Medicare in both nations. Read more