As was barely noticed by the U.S. news media, but widely reported in Canada and Europe, Danny Williams a Canadian Provincial Premier (the equivalent of a Governor) eschewed the oft-touted Canadian single-payer health care system to come to the U.S. for a heart procedure. There are plenty of important details in this piece but perhaps the most important, he came to the U.S. to get a specialized heart procedure because:
It’s rarely performed in Canada, and when it is, it’s rationed, you could die waiting for it, and if you get it they use a method that is over 10 years old, more destructive to the patient’s health, much more dangerous, and requires a much longer recovery period.
Before going into other specifics, this news item should be exhibit #1 at the “Health Care Summit” Thursday if only for this reason:
“This was my heart, my choice and my health,” Williams said. “I did not sign away my right to get the best possible health care for myself when I entered politics.”
The implication here is clear – when it came time to an urgent matter regarding his own health, Williams, who has been a huge proponent of nationalized health care in Canada, preferred to go out of pocket and out of the country to get the best care available. Where did he go? Why to the “broken health care system” in The United States. The same “broken” system which apparently has the most advanced procedure for his condition available in the world.
By the way, the man is a multimillionaire, so he could afford to go anywhere in the world. Except it appears, his home country, which we are told, has one of the best health care systems in the world. So good, in fact, he was worried that this same system wouldn’t offer him treatment treated before his condition killed him:
“I would’ve been criticized if I had stayed in Canada and had been perceived as jumping a line or a wait list.”
In fact, he goes on to say in the article that the physicians he spoke to in Canada had only done this procedure three or four times each, and each had done so using a technique that was archaic, requiring the fracturing of his sternum. This would cause an extended recovery time.
Finally, even if he wanted to pay for “jumping a line” or getting the procedure outside of the Canadian system, he couldn’t do that in Canada because, as a result of their government “single payer system,” it’s illegal to provide for-profit or individual payer health care. It’s either the government, with their protocols, formularies and wait lists, or, well, the great beyond.
Unless of course you’re a rich government official. Then all you need is a plane ticket south and a platinum card.
South being the U.S. – the place where we’ve been told the health care system is “broken” and in “crisis.” There, Mr. WIlliams was able find a physician who had done 8,000 open heart procedures and could do this one using a more modern, less damaging method that required no breaking of bones.
“I wanted to get in, get out fast, get back to work in a short period of time,” the premier said.
Read the whole article – and please, someone on the Republican “Meeting Team” read it before this Thursday circus dressed up as a meeting happens. Then look at the most basic take-aways here:
– When his own life was on the line, an elite member of a government with much lauded nationalized health care decided he’d rather leave the country and get care in the U.S., where the “health care system is broken.”
– He tacitly admits that if he wasn’t a member of the elite, he would’ve been on a waiting list and could’ve died before getting treated.
– The procedures available in Canada were not as advanced, nor the doctors as experienced, as in a country that doesn’t have government controlled health care.
– Because of this his recovery period – if he had survived the wait list – would’ve been much longer in the Canadian system, costing more in lost productivity and quality of life.
With politicians especially, actions speak louder than words. When faced with a life or death choice between the health care that he has personally touted and supported throughout his career, this millionaire Canadian law-maker chose to do what most of the people he “serves” cannot do – go get better care.
In addition to presenting all of this Mr. Boehner, Mr. Cantor, Mr. McConnell, and the rest, you need to ask the President one more question on Thursday:
Where will we go if the U.S. government takes over health care?