Yeah, Canada doesn't have a single national healthcare plan. They have 13 different systems based on broad national requirements administered by each individual territory/province. Their system isn't perfect, but I would say it works somewhat better than the current US system, at least in the area of controlling the kind of out-of-control price inflation we're seeing in the US.
Also, emergency room wait times suck in America as well, and people dying during the wait isn't completely unheard of.
The rapid price increases in America are very easy to explain, and in fact this was made clear to me on a recent doctor visit.
The problem is that the patient (customer) is not the one who pays for the service. There is a disconnect between customer and merchant. This disconnect enables the incentive of a company (hospital/doctor) to raise its prices to go unchecked. The doctor can prescribe anything, run any tests, and generally "over-service" the patient, because the patient wants "all the health he can get" and isn't paying the cost directly. For the most part, it's paid by the insurance provider or an employer via the insurance provider.
This singular dynamic is the primary reason healthcare costs in America seem "unrestrained." The incentive to reduce costs is gone, or almost gone.
I had understood this conceptually for a while, but on a recent doctor visit it was made terribly clear. I went to get a prescription. Before the doctor would prescribe the drug, he said I needed to take some blood tests and other types of analysis. It sounded a bit excessive, so I asked him, "How much will all that cost?" You see, I cared about the cost, because I don't have insurance. I have to pay for the services I receive. The doctor said the tests would cost roughly $900-$1,200. I gasped! He looked surprised at my question, and asked, "don't you have insurance?" I said no. He looked more surprised, paused, and then said, well, I guess we don't need to run all these tests. He crossed some things out on the clipboard, and said, "okay, just these three tests are required. The cost will be about $350.
So I paid for those tests, and got the prescription. If I had been a "normal client" with insurance to cover every expense, the cost of acquiring the services would be over a grand. But when the discipline of a price-conscious customer is added to the equation, the cost dropped to $350. Remember that when insurance companies pay your bills, their costs are distributed amongst all their policy holders. That is why insurance premiums keep rising - because doctors and hospitals have no incentive to control what they provide for a given demand.
This isn't the full story of why prices are rising, but it is a large portion of it. Insurance should not be paying for normal medical expenses. It should cover only catastrophic events, and people should get used to paying for the services and goods they demand. The overall price of health in the country would fall, or at least stabilize.
It is not a coincidence that those industries with the most government distortion are the industries in which prices are out of control (college, healthcare, war, etc.)