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Tuesday, February 2, 2010


Today multiple sources have reported that Premier Danny Williams of Newfoundland and Labrador is heading to the United States for heart surgery that is unavailable in the province which he governs.

The Canadian Press, similar to the U.S.-based Associated Press, wrote today, “His decision to go to the U.S. for health care has triggered a heated debate online, particularly in a province that has tried to restore public confidence in its health care services after a major scandal involving botched breast cancer tests.”

Canada, a single payer system, is often held up by lawmakers as a model worth emulating (in whole or part) in the U.S. However, the system has also been plagued by claims of waiting lines, inadequate care, and poor survival rates.

In 2007, one of the problems --wait times-- had gotten so bad that the Prime Minister announced:
“During the last federal election campaign, I and my party made a clear and unequivocal commitment to Canadians. We promised to sit down with the provinces to develop Patient Wait Times Guarantees, and today, I’m proud to announce, we’re delivering.”
With the promise of delivering a solution by 2010, many Canadians remain skeptical. For more of the problems associated with Canada’s health care system see here.

NRLC has long argued that the cost of health care does not require rationing lifesaving treatment. (See here) As Congress contemplates how to move forward to pass health care reform intended to have universal coverage, it is essential that any health plan include a means of sustainable, adequate funding for it (see here), so as to lessen the real danger of rationing.

This high profile story from Canada is one among countless examples of what can go wrong in the rationed health care systems elsewhere that rely on general fund revenues.

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