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Comparing Health Care In The U.S. To Health Care In Canada

Abby Anaday
Canada utilizes a publicly funded universal health care system delivered through its provinces and territories.

The concept of a "Medicare for All" health care system has been a point of debate in the 2020 race. A similar system has been in place in Canada for years.  Based off his experience working, researching and receiving care in both Iowa and Canada, one doctor shares what he's learned while working within the two systems. 

Peter Cram, a practicing physician and professor of medicine formerly at the University of Iowa and now at the University of Toronto, joins this edition of River to River to compare and contrast the merits and disadvantages of the American and the Canadian health care systems.  He also weighs in on the potential impact of a "Medicare for All" system in the United States. 

Cram says the vast majority of individuals living in Canada are covered by health insurance tailored by their provinces.  In contrast, more than 8 percent of Americans remain uninsured. However, he says Canadians can also experience drawbacks like long wait times and higher taxes.

"The Canadian health care system has some holes," Cram says. "It has some challenges. But I think that Canadians are generally reasonably satisfied. "


  • Dr. Peter Cram, Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto and Director for General Internal Medicine and Geriatrics for University Health Network and Sinai Health System
Ben Kieffer is the host of IPR's River to River
Katelyn Harrop is a producer for IPR's River to River and Talk of Iowa