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Many single-payer advocates got the vapors when Rudy Giuliani quipped, ”If we ever got Hillarycare in this country, Canadians will have nowhere to go for health care.” Well, this Globe & Mail article suggests he was on to something:
More than 150 critically ill Canadians – many with life-threatening cerebral hemorrhages – have been rushed to the United States since the spring of 2006 because they could not obtain intensive-care beds here.
But not before they endured purgatorial delays in the ER:
Before patients with bleeding in or outside the brain have been whisked through U.S. operating-room doors, some have languished for as long as eight hours in Canadian emergency wards while health-care workers scrambled to locate care.
And these delays took their toll on the patients:
“There have been very serious health-care problems that have arisen in neurosurgical patients because of the lack of ability to attain timely transport to expert neurosurgical centres in Ontario,” said R. Loch Macdonald, chief of the division of neurosurgery at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto.
But surely this is a new problem that Canada’s health care bureaucracy will move quickly to remedy? Nope.
[Provincial] governments were warned of a shortage of neurosurgical services five years ago. In August, 2003, a report co-authored by Chris Wallace, head of the division of neurosurgery at Toronto Western Hospital, said that “increasingly, the resources are not available to handle neurosurgical emergencies.”
Ontario has the worst situation. So here’s the response of Alan Hudson, the head of that province’s waiting-time strategy:
He immediately struck a panel to study it. “The solution to fix this is within sight,” said Dr. Hudson, a former neurosurgeon and hospital president. “What it requires is some organization.”
Man, what a hero! Superman and Green Lantern, to paraphrase a lyric from the ancient past, got nothin’ on him. I’m sure Ontario’s neuro patients take great comfort in the knowledge that such people are on the case.
Wait a minute! Canada has a single-payer system. They call it “Medicare.” Isn’t that the kind of system that’s supposed fix all our health care woes down here below the 49th parallel?
So, why would the lucky beneficiaries of Canada’s version of Medicare-for-All need to avail themselves of our “evil for-profit” medical system in order to get decent care?