I've lived in both the U.S. and Canada and there are flaws and good parts to both types of healthcare. Here's my personal experience layman's comparison. United States
1. work 20 hours or more* = health coverage
can add spouse, children, other relatives for minimal monthly fee
(You don't have to be a citizen or wait for coverage; it begins when you start working, or a family member starts and gets you on the system.)
2. doctor and specialist visit covered; I pay co-payment ($5 to $20 per visit)
3. optometrist and dentist visit covered; I pay co-payment
glasses and contacts covered up to a certain amount per year
4. medicines covered; I pay co-payment
5. surgeries and hospital covered; I pay co-payment
6. university student covered through tuition and fees - doctors are at the health center but surgeries at the hospital are covered
7. When health coverage was not an option through an employer, I bought independent insurance (self-employed). I also bought catastrophic insurance and paid doctors and meds out-of-pocket for a few years.
*Not all employers offer health care coverage. Except for when I was self-employed, I worked for the state or federal governments who offer it. I could also choose how much coverage I wanted by how much was taken out of my paycheck. I could pay a little more for private room in the hospital, etc.B. C. Canada
1. I pay (a guess) ~20% higher taxes for everybody to have health coverage. Walk-in clinics, primary doctors and specialists they refer me to are free. Also, no cost is non-private room in hospital and certain surgeries.
2. Medicines are not covered, but are generally lower cost than U.S. We have bought extra coverage through work that pays 80% prescription costs.
3. Optomistrists (and glasses and contacts) and dentists are not covered, but again we pay for extra coverage. (Children 18 and under get free optomistrist visits, but not dentist, and glasses are not covered.)
4. I bought medical coverage (cost of $200 per month) for two years before becoming a permanent resident or I would have had no health coverage.
It's comparing "apples and oranges." You have to pay for both, and pay more for the better, organic ones. What you get is fruit, but different kinds of fruit!