[January 22, 2008 @ 5:35 am] David Catron

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?


  1. Babs Says:

    My husband died of a grade 4 Astrocytoma at the age of 41. As soon as our doctor diagnosed this problem in 5 days he was operated on, it was that serious. Sadly, he did not make it because this type of a tumor is very agressive. Our doctor told us that Astrocytomas are very dangerous no matter what grade they are. I know our health system is in bad shape but there is always another country who has it worst then us & I know Canada’s is apalling. We will be vigilante on what goes on here.

  2. Pete Says:

    Apalling??? Yet 90% of Canadians in a recent poll would rather keep their current system than go to a U.S. style system. Don’t believe everything you read about the Canadian system.

  3. W Horter Says:

    Yes, the U.S. has 47 million uninsured, estimated 50 million UNDER insured. We spend more money than any other system, and get less! Those horror stories are here in the US as well. Not long ago a 13 year old boy died from an abcessed tooth, here in the good old USA. Free market healthcare has been given every chance to cut costs and increase services, but the fact remains, it has failed on both counts. 47 million uninsured, is immoral. I don’t think Canada’s is that bad.

  4. KansasGirl Says:

    W. Horter, I suggest you google “Uninsured in America”, before you glibly throw around 47 to 50 million uninsurer or underinsured. The cost of health care IS so expensive BECAUSE of the government! The same entity that is breaking the bank on Medicare, Medicade and Social Security, is not the people I want! Everyone seems to want something for nothing, until the bill comes.

  5. W Horter Says:

    Kansas Girl, I also might ask you if you have seen “Sicko” yet? But the 47 million uninsured, is a fact. The estimate of 50 milion underinsured is simply that, an estimate. But healthcare isn’t expensive because of government. Healthcare, is strictly private enterprise in the USA, except for Medicare. And Medicare spends less than 4% on administrative costs, while the private sector spends 33%. Hardly a small difference. Remember, Canadians, live longer than Americans. So do Germans, French, Swiss. Isn’t that the true test of healthcare?

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