Canada-Care’s Secret

Thursday's Editorial   —   Posted on February 4, 2010

(by the editors of – A Canadian premier, Danny Williams, said Tuesday he was headed for the U.S. for heart surgery. That’s a bit ironic, given that Democrats hail Canada-care as a model for the U.S. and call our system “broken.”

The provincial governor of Newfoundland and Labrador didn’t seem to think so when his deputy, Kathy Dunderdale, told the National Post: “He has gone to a renowned expert in the procedure that he needs to have done.”

She didn’t disclose exactly where, but she assured Canadians that his prognosis was excellent and she’d fill in for him during his three- to 12-week recovery period. “Ultimately, we have to be the gatekeepers of our own health,” Dunderdale said.

Now, someone like Williams, who’s both an elected official and independently wealthy, ought to be able to get world-class medical care in Canada. But he couldn’t. Because Canada’s single-payer health care system reduces the quality and quantity of care.

A physician can’t just go into business in Canada. He or she is joined at the hip to Canada’s health care system as paymaster, with any private care placed under strict government price controls.

That means long lines of rationing as well as lower-quality care. It’s so bad that even the premier prefers to head to the States.

He’s not alone. Other premiers, including Quebec’s Robert Bourassa in 1990, have sought that care, as has Member of Parliament Belinda Stronach in 2007. According to the Fraser Institute, 41,000 Canadians, or 1% of the population, were referred by their own doctors for nonemergency medical care abroad in 2009, a rise of about 10% from a year earlier.

Thousands more don’t even wait for a referral, leaving the country to seek treatment on their own. Clinics in U.S. cities like Buffalo, Seattle and Detroit do a booming business with Canadian medical tourists. Canadian newspapers are filled with U.S. doctors advertising their services.

For the wealthy Williams, U.S. health care paid for out of pocket is a viable option. Not so for Canada’s poor. If the U.S. moves to a Canadian-style health care model, not even the rich will be able to run from the unpleasant side effects of a socialist system.

Reprinted here for educational purposes only. May not be reproduced on other websites without permission from Investor’s Business Daily.  First published on Feb. 2, 2010.  Visit the website at