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Canadian Health Care System "in Crisis"

Ever heard of Claude Castonguay? Claude fathered the single-payer system in Quebec that locked out all private insurance. This is the same system that U.S. advocates of nationalized health care love to cite as a romantic Socialist success story.

Better not plan the honeymoon just yet, as the architect of this plan (now a proponent of private insurance) is admitting that the system is in ruins. And no, he wasn't bought out by "health care lobbyists."
Back in the 1960s, Castonguay chaired a Canadian government committee studying health reform and recommended that his home province of Quebec — then the largest and most affluent in the country — adopt government-administered health care, covering all citizens through tax levies.

Four decades later, as the chairman of a government committee reviewing Quebec health care this year, Castonguay concluded that the system is in "crisis."

"We thought we could resolve the system's problems by rationing services or injecting massive amounts of new money into it," says Castonguay. But now he prescribes a radical overhaul: "We are proposing to give a greater role to the private sector so that people can exercise freedom of choice."
This comes as no surprise. Nationalizing something like health care limits the available resources, which drives down the quality and the quantity of services. There is no competition and no incentive for investment, only a weighty regulation scheme. These are problems no government can spend (ahem, tax) its way out of.

What does Claude suggest? He is urging "for the legalization of private health insurance." What an idea! Because all medical facilities are owned by the government, he is recommending the space be leased to private physicians and care-giving companies to increase the amount of services available to Canadians. Remember Hillary's sob story about the woman "forced" to give birth in a subway tunnel? How about this anecdote:

Sick with ovarian cancer, Sylvia de Vires, an Ontario woman afflicted with a 13-inch, fluid-filled tumor weighing 40 pounds, was unable to get timely care in Canada. She crossed the American border to Pontiac, Mich., where a surgeon removed the tumor, estimating she could not have lived longer than a few weeks more.

The Canadian government pays for U.S. medical care in some circumstances, but it declined to do so in de Vires' case for a bureaucratically perfect, but inhumane, reason: She hadn't properly filled out a form.
Today, Canadians whose needs can't be addressed in a timely manner are actually crossing the border and spending their own money, or that of Canada's tax-payers, on doctors in America - you know, the country that has the one of the worst health care systems in the world? Got anything to say on the subject, Mr. Moore?

According to the article, "Since the spring of 2006, Ontario's government has sent at least 164 patients to New York and Michigan for neurosurgery emergencies — defined by the Globe and Mail newspaper as 'broken necks, burst aneurysms and other types of bleeding in or around the brain.'"

I present to you this graph of waiting times for basic surgical procedures in Ontario, with data from the Canada Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care:

(Click for full-size)

The article also mentions that Americans are "desperately unhappy" with their system of health care, and quotes Barack Obama on the issue of a single-payer system similar to Canada's:

Polls show Americans are desperately unhappy with their system and a government solution grows in popularity. Neither Sen. Obama nor Sen. McCain is explicitly pushing for single-payer health care, as the Canadian system is known in America.

"I happen to be a proponent of a single-payer health care program," Obama said back in the 1990s. Last year, Obama told the New Yorker that "if you're starting from scratch, then a single-payer system probably makes sense."
You want nationalized health care? Go to Cuba. Just don't come limping back to Uncle Sam when your new doctor is too busy playing dominos on the hood of a '62 Chevy to perform your MRI.

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