Donald Trump is notorious for being unable to play nice with Mexico. But it seems his ignorance and dishonesty are now turning him against our northern neighbor, too. The Republican presidential candidate offered sharp criticism for Canadian healthcare at Sunday’s debate:
“The Canadians, when they need a big operation, when something happens, they come into the United States in many cases, because their system is so slow.”
Trump went on to describe Canadian healthcare as “catastrophic.” But Canadians quickly took to the internet to counter Trump’s assertions. Frank Gallagher of Hudson, Florida, wrote:
“For the record I was born and raised in Canada. Having lived in America 10 years and seeing both heath [sic] systems Canada is superior. It is cheaper, approx. $100 per person. 100% of the population is covered 100% of the time with zero copay and zero deductibles.”
Rob DeMattio described an exchange he had with some Canadian tourists several years ago:
“We met a couple young girls at a bed and breakfast a few years ago, who were both from Canada. We asked at dinner about their health care, like how much they spent, or how long they had to wait. They looked puzzled and said they can walk into a clinic at any time, NO pay. One said that wait times are for things like ‘elected surgery’. She said her mother had a mole that she wanted removed. It was NOT a health threat. So they gave her an appointment to have it removed in a couple months. She chose to go across the border to a plastic surgeon in the US to get it done sooner…and the Canadian system PAID FOR IT.”
Canada Leads America in Quality Care
The high praise isn’t just anecdotal. In a 2014 study, The Commonwealth Foundation found that U.S. healthcare ranks dead last when compared to 11 other industrialized nations. The data showed that while Canadian and American healthcare systems are about equal in most respects, Canada significantly outpaces the United States when it comes to providing patient-centered and effective care.
Americans also spend about twice as much as Canadians on healthcare. The report found that:
“People in the U.S. have the hardest time affording the health care they need. The U.S. ranks last on every measure of cost-related access. More than one-third (37%) of U.S. adults reported forgoing a recommended test, treatment, or follow-up care because of cost.”
One of the only areas where America had an advantage over Canada was in its relatively low wait times. But Trudy Lieberman – the former president of the Association of Health Care Journalists –found:
“Yes, there are waiting lists for some services… but, no, Canadians are not coming across the border in droves to get American care.”
Obstacles to Progress
Despite the obvious success of publicly funded healthcare systems in Canada and the rest of the developed world, Trump and his ilk continue to reject the idea. Since at least 2004, the Republican Party’s platform has rejected any proposal for universal healthcare. Republican condemnations of government-subsidized healthcare programs have only intensified since the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act – Obamacare – in 2010.
Obamacare was an important step forward on healthcare. But about 10% of Americans – some 29 million people – still have no health coverage. Most of them simply can’t afford it. If we want fair, affordable healthcare in this country, Canada’s healthcare system is the model we should look to.
Michael Moore explored the Canadian healthcare system in his 2007 film Sicko. Check out what he found below:
Featured image from Canadian Healthcare Mall.