[February 21, 2008 @ 3:12 pm] Stuart Browning

I’ve always held that the advocates of government-run health care are motivated primarily by the desire to redistribute wealth and income. This week, a devasting story published in the Canadian newspaper The National Post called Dying to save “The System” describes the Canadian system accurately:

For defenders of Canada’s government-monopoly health care system, there is only one goal that truly matters. And, no, despite their earnest insistences to the contrary, that goal is not the health of patients. It is the preservation of the public monopoly at all costs, even patients’ lives.

Be sure to read the whole story – and then ask yourself what are the true motives of those who say that “health care is a right” and that government should make our medical decisions for us.


  1. Ranee Decker Says:

    Regarding the video about the canadian man with the brain tumor….I hate to tell you this but unless you can pay all doctor fees up-front here in the US, treatment isn’t much different.

    I was finally diagnosed with a brain tumor after 3 years of repeated medical visits for headaches, numbness, visual disturbances and finally a seizure. I need to note that I saw a private practitioner (family practice first) and initially had what was supposed to be very good employer sponsored healthcare, (United Healthcare) and later, I relied on Medicare.

    The time between my being diagnosed with the tumor and actually getting into the neurologist was 2 months. The doctors chose to take a “wait and see” approach and, luckily for me, 2 years later, I am still alive though still suffering from chronic headaches and it is most likely the tumor is, in fact, benign since it’s size hasn’t changed.
    But what if it hadn’t been…nobody was willing to do a biopsy….”lets just wait and see…”

    I fail to see a huge difference between our system and Canada’s-again, unless you happen to have the cash up-front to pay for all services. If you are dependant on an insurance plan, you’re still likely to be screwed.


  2. W Horter Says:

    Go to this site and see how well our Healthcare “System” is actually working. Long term care would be included in National (not for profit) Healthcare. This is done all over the rest of the developed world!

  3. R. Turnbull Says:

    Check this blog out, as it’s accurate and certainly fits with my forty-plus years of living in Canada and having access to its health care system:

    No one claims the Canadian system is perfect, but taking one person’s admittedly bad experience (as is done in Stuart Browning’s video) and implying that it is somehow typical is grossly misleading, to say the least. Also, the National Post is by no means an objective observer of social policy in Canada. It was owned at one point by the notorious Conrad Black, whose hard right, free-market-or-bust views still imbue much of the paper’s editorial and journalistic commentary.

    Finally, in Canada, the government doesn’t “make our medical decisions for us”. That’s a myth perpetrated in the U.S., perhaps by private health care interests or their apologizers. I, as an individual, make my choices: all the health care system does is pay for them. Rather than thinking of it as “government” or “socialized” medicine, think of it as a system with a single, non-profit insurer. Cuts way back on all sorts of costs, including administrative ones, of which the U.S. reportedly pays the highest in the industrialized world.

  4. Stuart Browning Says:

    R. Turnbull –

    You have not disputed a single fact in the National Post story and have merely attempted to smear the newspaper as right-wing. Perhaps the portrait of the Canadian system painted here is indefensible?

    Regarding your assertion that the government does not make your decision for you: nothing could be further from the truth. The Canadian government – through the vast health care bureaucracy that it funds – decides which devices, which drugs and which surgeries it will fund. It also decides who will wait and how long. The horror stories go far beyond Lindsay McCreith. Perhaps you should watch some of the other movies here at this site.

  5. R. Turnbull Says:

    My previous comment failed to include the address of the blog I was referring to. I’ll try again:

  6. R. Turnbull Says:


    Nice of you to respond so quickly. The URL address for my suggested blog reading has failed to appear however (twice).

    Regarding the Post article, my intention was not to smear but to give context: I don’t think I’ve mischaracterized Black’s well-known views. I don’t dispute the facts of the case of the Kawacatoose First Nation’s MRI machine. The point however is not that the public health care system is rotten and needs to be tossed; it’s that it (and any other health care system, really) needs to be responsive to real need. The Post is right to cover the MRI story, but reading it, it’s clear there’s an agenda at work. The tone and rhetoric fit with my original assertion, that the Post is not an objective observer.

    Again, I haven’t heard anyone claim perfection for the Canadian system, nor that it can’t be improved. But if I lived in the US and pursued the type of work that I do here, I couldn’t afford health care. The bureaucracy you mention is a bit of a straw man. Read the ourfuture(dot)org blog about myth busting Canadian health care I’ve suggested. Contrast the “vast” bureaucracy with the multiple, private insurers doctors are routinely required to deal with in the US. The private market is intent on the bottom line. Ironically this means that you collectively pay significantly more for your health care system than we do here in Canada, while excluding more people from the system than the entire Canadian population.

  7. Pierre Says:

    Stuart you are mostly incorrect on saying that the Canadian Government “decides which devices, which drugs and which surgeries it will fund. It also decides who will wait and how long” First off, for drugs. Health Canada decides which drugs are approved for use for the indication a drug company is applying for any given drug. No different than your gov’ts FDA. Once approved for use, the drug companies present their Pharmacoeconomic data to various insurance companies to see if they will cover them. These include private payors and provincially run formularies. The government does not decide what is listed, nor can they tell the doctor which drug they must use. Unlike most HMO’s. Even provincially run formularies are not made up of government officials, they are mostly made up of doctors. They are funded by the government, but the choice to cover is NOT done by them. The same holds true for medical devices. For surgeries, again, individual hospitals decide on them based on their budgets. Goverments don’t tell what doctors can or cannot do in the hospitals. Nor do goverments decide how long waiting lists are. Its called supply and demand. Governments can help to reduce times by providing extra funding to reduce the lines, but they DO NOT control the line. Thanks for the laugh on that one Stuart.
    As far as the article goes. The opposition leader, who is not in power, is trying to stop the MRI. That party is the socialist party, the NDP. Right now, in some provinces, private care is coming more into play in Canada. However, our system will not be given up by us. The vast majority, even with its short comings, will take it hands down over the current U.S. system. And yes, there might be a horror story here and there in Canada, but you damn well know there are way more horror stories in the states. I’ve got plenty links, just let me know and I’ll give to you so you can post them. Oh that’s right, you never would…would you?
    Here’s another question, name me one country who is clamoring to convert to a U.S. style system??? Thought so.

  8. Stuart Browning Says:


    Perhaps you’re overlooked the fundamental fact that hospital global budgets are funded 100% by government. That a hospital administrator decides to ration a given device or surgery is irrelevant to the fact that medicine is severely rationed in Canada by government design.

    And as for having the last laugh – you would have to be an economic illiterate to make the statement that supply and demand determines waiting lists lengths in Canada. This is really too silly for me to even address other than by referring you to my short movie “Two Women” – which shows that rationing is done in an arbitrary manner having nothing to do with free markets.

  9. Pierre Says:

    First off, if you read my post more closely, I am referring to supply and demand at an ER level.

    Second, you give the real impression that our gov’t decides who gets what surgeries, which is untrue. As far the funding deciding how and administrator rations a given procedure, sounds similar to how an HMO decides who or what gets covered by their plan.

  10. W Horter Says:

    Some good posts here. As for Canada ‘rationing” healthcare Stuart, who rations it more than the U.S. does? We have millions without coverage. We have millions going bankrupt because of healthcare bills. And we spend the most per capita than any other country. This is not that hard Stuart! Our system is simply made to deny care, care denied, is money made. o wonder our system is rated 37th in the World.

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