Is The Canadian Health Care System Really Better?

On Feb. 11, former President Bill Clinton was admitted to Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital in New York City with chest pains. His cardiac surgeon inserted two stents to prop open a clogged artery. Mr. Clinton stayed overnight for observation and was released today.  Mr. Clinton will not be alone as up to one half million stents will be implanted in cardiac patients this year. Implementations of stents have become almost routine.

On Feb. 2, Danny Williams, the premier of the Canadian provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador, left Canada to come to the United States for cardiac treatment. Mr. William’s decision has raised eyebrows in Canada as he has made a decision to shun the Canadian government-run health care system. One reason may be that, according to the Canadian Institute of Health, the waiting time for cardiac surgery in Newfoundland is 182 days.


There was speculation that Mr. Williams could have gone to another province with shorter waiting times, but then he would have had to bump a peasant from the waiting list, political fallout that would have been unbearable. So Mr. Williams is in the US, being cared for and will soon return home. Being financially comfortable made this trip possible.

Danny Williams is lucky that the United States, with the world’s best healthcare, is a short plane ride from home. Bill Clinton is just as lucky except that he went to the hospital by car, rather than by plane.

If this situation were reversed and Mr. Clinton lived in Canada, how long would it take to have his stents installed- two weeks, two months, or could Mr. Clinton bump someone and get to the head of the stent waiting-line. Bumping by the connected is strongly frowned upon as when former Prime Minister of Canada, Jean Cretian, was forced to go to California for medical treatment.

Barack Obama wants to socialize American medicine and use Canada as one of his models. If Canada is so good why did Williams and Cretian come to the US? Why do hospitals in Detroit routinely treat Canadians? If the Canadian system is so good you would have reports of hospitals in Windsor, Ontario treating Americans, but you don’t.  In Canada patients can wait for months for an appendectomy, but in the US it is a matter of days.

It is apparent that Canadians with money can get any type of medical care without the waiting. However the average Canadian is stuck with the Canadian Healthcare System. Obama’s socialized medicine would be sending the rich to other countries as American care deteriorates. The average American will find out what medical waiting lists are all about. States like New Jersey and Florida, with large senior populations, will see the death rate increase, as seniors will not be able to obtain required care. Is this what we want?

One Canadian blogger, who is apparently a close observer of American politics, posed the question-will the quality of Obamacare mirror the excellence of the Chicago and Washington DC public school systems.

Probably, as Obama will set standards of performance that he will be comfortable with and in the process destroy the greatest health care system that humanity has ever known.

Harold V. Kane
Monroe Township

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