Not even close. According to the World Health Organization, Canada ranks 30th in the world, with the US ranking 38th.[1]

Ranking criteria:

Bang for the buck

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Preventive measures

Access for vulnerable populations

Thus, while Canada and the US are both only middling performers, we both have a very great deal to learn from other places that manage to combine costs that are no higher than Canada’s (and frequently are lower) and population health outcomes (e.g. longevity, infant mortality, etc., etc.), that are as good or better.

Let me offer a comparison that will shake some of the complacent assumptions that many Americans seem to have about the equity and effectiveness of the Canadian health care system. Let’s talk about infant mortality for African-American babies vs. Canadian babies. Infant mortality risk is a function of birth-weight, with the risk of death rising as the birth weight falls. Now over the full range of low birth-weights (i.e. any birth-weight below 2500 grams), African-American babies fare better than Canadian babies, except at the very top end of the range, where they are essentially equal. In short, among low birth-weight babies, it is safer to be born to an African-American family than it is to be born to the average Canadian family.

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