Healthcare In The US Of America And Canada Writing Sample

As the United States debated the Health care reform bill suggested by President Obama’s administration, the Canadian healthcare system was often cited as a model that the US could ape. While Canada has for years now maintained a public-funded single-payer healthcare system, the United States opted for a private system that allowed as many players to participate in its system. As a result, the Canadian government can provide affordable healthcare to the majority of its citizenry and spends an approximate 10.4 percent GDP on the same, while 20 percent of non-elderly Americans remain uninsured and spend 16 percent of the country’s GDP on health-related costs (The National Bureau of Economic Research 2).


With universal health coverage provided by the government in Canada, healthcare in the country is no doubt more accessible than the case in the US where 20 percent of the non-aged population lack any form of healthcare insurance hence making them likely to lack access to affordable healthcare.

Canada however faces a different challenge in access to healthcare as most people have to wait for long periods before they can be attended by healthcare professionals (Deming 4). Comparing people who go without healthcare services because of cost-related factors, an OECD report cited by Deming (4) observes that 25 percent of average income earners in the US and 7 percent of average-income earners in Canada have no access to healthcare. The inaccessibility statistics are much worse for 52 percent of low-income earners in the US compared to 18 percent of low-income earners in Canada.


The Bureau of Labour Education argues that the United States has “the most expensive healthcare system in the world” (2). In 1998 for example, the US spent 4,178 US dollars per capita compared to Canada’s 2,312 US dollars per capita in the same period. In 2007, the per capita spending on healthcare in both countries had increased to $7,290 and $3,895 for USA and Canada respectively (Deming 3). The high cost in the US is attributed to a combination of factors most notably the administrative costs incurred by private healthcare providers. Others include the rising costs of prescription drugs as well as medical technology. While Canada experienced a rise in the cost of medical


Though quality healthcare is difficult to define and quantify, this essay will define it as satisfactory and beneficial healthcare provision to patients. If what Americans say about healthcare in the country is anything to go by, then healthcare in the country does not meet their expectations on quality. Blendon and Taylor report that 89 percent of Americans are discontented about the “direction and structure” of the healthcare system (151). Fifty-six percent of Canadians on the other hand still hold the healthcare system in the country in high regard stating that it serves them well (Blendon &Taylor 151).


Continuity in healthcare is put in place through enhanced communication, tracking of patients, the transfer and retrieval of medical information, enhancing convenient service provision to patients, and availing comprehensive medical services to patients. Both countries compare equally in continuity and are ranked as average performers in continuity (UBC center for Health Services and Policy Research 2). Canada’s continuity is affected by the overwhelmed healthcare providers thus making it hard for patients and the care providers to sustain a continuous relationship. United States’ continuity in healthcare is hampered by the cost of care thus meaning that a significant percentage of patients seek medical care only when they cannot avoid it.

Works Cited

Blendon, Robert & Taylor, Humphrey. “Views on Health Care: Public Opinion in Three Nations.” DataWatch Spring (1989): 149-157.

Bureau of Labour Education. The US Health Care System: Best in the World, or Just the Most Expensive? 2001. Web.

Deming, Brian. HealthCare in United States, Canada. 2009. Web.

The National Bureau of Economic Research. Comparing the US and Canadian Health Care Systems. 2009. Web.

UBC center for Health Services and Policy Research. Continuity of Care. N.d. Web.

Critiquing Erin Brockovich

Discuss Survey Research

A survey research entails the use of samples to make didactic conclusions about large populations of organisms. Many scholars often use this research method in analyzing the popularity of candidates in political campaigns. Good surveys usually require the researchers to formulate the research questions before embarking on the research. The researcher must ensure that his questions are fair since objective questions usually yield results that correctly represent the entire population.

Methodology Used by the Characters

The main character in the film, Erin Brockovich, collects data using personal surveys. She interviews other characters about their illnesses and the company’s role in their medication. She also visits Donna and interviews her about her illness. Apart from Donna, she interviews other former and current employees of the PG&E Company. The data she collects convinces her that the company was responsible for the rampant illnesses among its employees.

Brockovich’s Needs Assessment

Needs assessment entails noticing a problem and confirming it through further analysis (Houser, 2015). In the film, Brockovich realizes that many of the current and former employees of the PG&E Company suffer from strange diseases, mostly brain tumors. She interviews several former and current employees of PG&E and concludes that the company knows about the cause of the illness. A detailed investigation reveals that the hexavalent chromium the company emits is responsible for the illnesses. Consequently, she convinces the victims to sue PG&E. Eventually; the company compensates the victims with some good amount of money (Táquez, 2009).

Needs Assessment About the Prevalence, Distribution, and Interrelations of Variables

Brockovich’s interaction with Donna makes her suspicious that many are suffering from the same problem. Donna suffers from a brain tumor while her husband suffers from the Hodgkin disease. She decides to determine the prevalence of the problems caused by the hexavalent chromium through conducting interviews. She concludes that many people are suffering from these problems.

She interviews other people apart from Donna and realizes that the hexavalent chromium has contaminated water over a very large area. Her discussions with the people also help her realize that the company had paid for the medication of very many employees.

She realizes that the company’s decision to cater for the medication of its employees was not genuine but a defense mechanism. She relates the free medication to the increased illness among the people of Hinckley. In the end, she concludes that the company knows that the hexavalent chromium it emits is responsible for the illnesses among employees and former employees.

Ethical Implications of Brockovich’s Actions

The first ethical implication of Brockovich’s actions is the awareness of the participants. In any research, all the participants must be conversant with all the facts of the research. They must also know the parts they play in the research. Brockovich informs her participants about the probability of the contamination of their water. She even asks them to go to court with her.

The other implication is the welfare of the participants. The research should benefit all the participants and not only the researcher (American Psychological Association, 2010). Brockovich’s research is about ending the illnesses emanating from the contamination of water. In addition, she gives the money she gets from the suit to the victims. She does not hide anything.

Other than just being aware of the research and the parts they play in the research, the participants also need to give their consent before the researcher drafts them into her study (Institute of Medicine, 2010). In the movie, Brockovich asks for Donna’s consent before she progresses with her investigations.


American Psychological Association (2010). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). Washington, DC: Author. Web.

Houser, J. (2015). Nursing research: Reading, using, and creating evidence. (3rd ed.). Boston: Jones & Bartlett.

Institute of Medicine. (2010). The future of nursing: Leading the change, advancing health. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

Táquez, H. (2009). Erin Brockovich. Web.

Patient Rights When Interacting With Healthcare Providers


Good health care is what patients require though compromised by many medical practitioners especially where there are no legislations and polices in place to ensure that health systems adhere to the set standards. Many people may succumb to death due to substandard medical services provided my medical practitioners who are interested in making high profits on expense of their patients. Therefore, a regulatory board and a body that oversees issues pertaining to the health services is imperative if good medical services is to be achieved (Pozgar, 2009, p. 56). In the light of these expositions, the paper examines a legal case in the medical field committed by Robert Ray Courtney based on the rights and expectations of a patient receiving some health services.

Rights and Expectations of a patient

There are various rights and expectations that patients have when interacting with any organization, health facility or a person who is able to give medical prescription or treatment. A patient is entitled to a courteous and timely treatment upon visiting a medical practitioner. The medical professionals should administer the treatment in the fastest time possible in order to save the patient from further complications, which may result to complications. Furthermore, a patient is entitled to the right of suitable or good drugs proven to meet the standards recommended. The doctors too ought not to subject any patient to drugs, already interfered with by adding substances that may lead to further complications. A patient is also entitled to clear information about the drugs administered by the health officer, their uses and the expected side effects, if any (Torrey, 2009, Para. 3). Refusing to provide this information can amount to legal implications and questions on the implied intentions of the medicine prescriber. A patient has a right to confidentiality of any information he shares with an organization and to the medical practitioner given. The doctor has not right to disclose any patient’s information to a third party without the patients consent or otherwise it will contravene the right of the patient. A patient has a right to decide which people to visit him in the hospital clarifying how long the visitor should meet him. The patient has the right to appoint anybody as the next of kin to be his/her confidant during the time of admission and treatment. During this interaction, a patient has the expectation of receiving the best medical services that will enable him/her to recover from his ailments. A patient also expects a clear expectation of the clinical treatments and the risks that comes with it before accepting any treatment. Patients also require advice on how they should take care of themselves after their discharge from hospital in order to recover from their sickness. There are a times that a patient’s situation is beyond the doctor’s understanding. In such circumstances, the patient expects an advice on how to seek other medical opinions to get the best attention that will make him/her recover quickly. Based on the case provided, their stands the violation of some of the aforementioned rights and expectations.

Violated rights and expectations in the case

In the Robert Ray Courtney case, the rights and expectations of the patients were violated largely. It is the duty of doctors or pharmacists to provide better drugs to their patients. However, this is not the case for Robert, the medical officer. He dilutes drugs with other substances with the sole intention of increasing their volumes in order to get higher profits from the deal. He is more of a thief than a doctor: he faces accusations of interfering with over 90,000 prescriptions and more than 70 different drugs, which affected many lives of people who used his drugs and medications. For instance, he tampers and misbrands some of the drugs like Gemzar and Taxol and further weakening drugs like paraplatin and platinol conspiring in trafficking of drugs stolen filing vague medical care claims (Hansen, 2005, p. 4). These amounts to crimes in the health care, which violated the patient’s right to true information about the medicines, sub standard drugs, which caused harm to the patients. He therefore, violated the rights of the health care and especially those of his patients.

Role of a pharmacist, legal implication of the case and deciding factors

The pharmacists had a role of selling authentic drugs to his patients. He did not uphold to his role and therefore was irresponsible and guided by his own personal interests and selfish gains in expense of his patients. He contravened the right of the patients. Robert was sent to prison for a sentence term of 30 years for the offenses he did against the health of his patients. Therefore, the case concluded with Robert sent behind bars. This case was one of the serious cases reported in relations to violation of medical regulations. Even after appealing for a reduction in the sentence, the court denied the appeal due to the nature of the case: the accused had perpetrated this illegal business for ten years and has affected many patients’ lives. As a way of reducing the ever-escalating cases of medical fraud in Kansas, various legislations have been formulated by the congress to impose stiffer penalties to the perpetrators including life sentence.

In the Robert Ray Courtney case, the deciding factors of the sentence included; the acceptance of Kay himself to have involved in the crime leveled against him. He accepted that indeed he was involved in diluting and relabeling of the drugs. This admission led the district court making a landmark ruling, which exceeded the required period of sentence that was required. This led Robert to appeal in the court of appeal, which ruled that they were reaffirming the decision of the district court an appeal that has seen no changes made concerning the sentence. The drugs had also affected negatively the health status of his patients, which made his sentences to be that harsh. There were samples, which clearly showed that Robert indeed was participating in the business.

Punishment and the appeal

The punishment leveled to Robert Ray actually fits the crime. He contravened the professional ethics and the responsibility he had in providing the right medical prescriptions to his clients. He risked the lives of his patients for his own self-interest. The sentence could also serve as a precautionary measure to those medical practitioners who are intending or who are involved in such practices to refrain with immediate effect. Therefore, the sentence will serve as an example in bringing sanity to the health systems.

In this case, Robert filed an appeal in the court of appeal because of the decision of the district court. The appeal has not changed any thing as the sentence still applies.

Today, because of his actions, Robert is still in the prison for the crimes he committed as the sentence is for 30 years.

Result of the case in drugs dispensation

This case has really led to many changes in the procedures for dispensing of drugs to patients. Various regulations and laws have been enacted to prevent any further recurrence of such cases in the country. For instance, the congress has established the “Kansas Medicaid control act” which prohibits any one making a false claim knowingly with the intention to fraud the clients (Bennett, 2007, p.13). All these efforts in conjunction with FBI and FDA aim towards ensuring that all conditions relating to administering of drugs remain preserved to the latter. Drugs dispensed to the patients should have all the information relating to dosage, and any likely side effects of using it. These among other laws have been instituted in the healthcare systems to ensure the reduction of such criminal acts.


The case tabled illustrates the level of crimes committed in the health case systems under the scene. The patients are the immediate sufferers because of the evil practices. Therefore, it is important for the government to enact appropriate measures to prevent such businesses, as its repercussions are severe to the citizens and even to the economy at large. Urgent measures seem worth administering to those who perpetrate such business to discourage others from committing such crimes. Medical fraud cases should be dealt by administering severe punishment as illustrated to Robert in order to bring to an end such practices.


Bennett, M. (2007). Criminal Prosecutions for Medicare and Medicaid Fraud. Health Care Legislations, 2, pp.1-23.

Hansen, M. (2005). United States of America v. Robert Ray Courtney. The United States Court of Appeal, pp. 1-17.

Pozgar, G. (2009). Legal essentials of health care administration. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Partlett Publishers.

Torrey, T. (2009). The wise patient’s guide to rights and responsibilities. Web.

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