Eighty-two percent of Canadians believe that their health care system is better than ours.
I watched President Obama’s primetime news conference last night (July 22, 2009) on reforming our health care system. After the conference, a political ad sponsored and paid for by the Americans for Prosperity Foundation was aired on the same network, CNN. The ad featured a Canadian woman who tells of having to come to the U.S. for an operation to save her life because of long wait times for surgical procedures in Canada. Oooooooo… scary — but one woman? Is she one of thousands last year who had to do the same — hundreds, or maybe just a dozen or so? And did she really have to come here for her operation?
The ad got me to wondering how Canadians really feel about the system that they’ve had in-place now for over fifty years. I also wondered whether the ad was being aired on the Fox network too or only on networks patronized by viewers having more moderate political persuasions.
I got up this morning and, over a cup of coffee, did a little research. I found an interesting article on the subject recently published by the Canadian Press. Read the article for yourself if you wish, but to summarize, Canadians think we would be wise to consider their system as we grapple with what to do about our own. A recent survey conducted by Harris/Decima group in Canada has found that 70 percent of Canadians think their system is working well or very well and that 82 percent believe their system is better than ours. The poll, taken by telephone of 1,000 Canadians, was conducted from June 4 to 8 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
On the whole then, Canadians obviously feel pretty satisfied with their system, but should we care about how Canadians feel? Maybe… A little more research came up with the following video program produced by a San Diego television station (KPBS) in cooperation with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). The program compares our system with Canada’s. Draw your own conclusions.
The Canadian health-care system has been in the spotlight for weeks at congressional hearings, where it has alternately been characterized as the gold standard and a troubled system plagued with problems and delays. Obviously, neither our privatized system nor their single-payer system (Canadians don’t consider it to be “socialized” medicine) is perfect. But considering comparative costs and healthcare outcomes, I think the majority of Canadians are right about which system is better. Perhaps the President’s plan, a blending of the two, would offer the best of both worlds to Americans. After watching the embedded video, let me know what you think.
I invite your comments.