Thursday, November 15, 2007

Former President Bill Clinton lectures Canada on healthcare

The St. Catharines Standard (Nov. 14, 2007) reported on former U.S. President Bill Clinton’s visit last night to speak at the $195-a-ticket Ontario’s Economic Summit in Niagara-On-The Lake, Ontario, Canada: “Clinton commended Canada on several fronts, from the country's fiscal responsibility to its military involvement in Afghanistan to its public health care. Half of personal bankruptcies in the U.S. are due to health-care emergencies, said Clinton, urging Canadians to fight for their public system at all costs. "I keep reading Canadians are dissatisfied with the waiting times of the Canadian system," Clinton said. "But don't ever let the health-care bank tail wag the health-care dog or you'll be in trouble." "

But, we are in trouble! We're the ones going to the States for medical treatment.

Clinton seems to use this tail-wags-dog homily at every stop he makes, like in a May 15, 2006 Toronto speech where he called the U.S. health system a mess and warned Canadians not to let the "health-care finance tail wag the health-care dog."

Clinton says he keeps reading about Canadians dissatisfied with waiting times, but…what? Is Clinton suggesting Canadians stop escaping to the States for healthcare which they can’t get in Canada because of government-run ineptitude? Even Clinton’s friend, Canadian pro-medicare Liberal politician Belinda Stronach had to leave Canada to get cancer treatment in the States. She's not the only one.

What does that then say about Ontario Liberal Premier Dalton McGuinty's government-run health care monopoly, which continually relies upon sending ill Ontarians to the States for treatment which his Liberal system cannot provide at home? The Liberal Health Minister, George Smitherman, admitted in August of 2005: "If you look around Ontario, you can use the word 'system' all you want, but we don't have one."

Is Clinton aware that Premier McGuinty’s Liberals have increased taxes, instituted a separate additional $2.8 billion health-care tax/premium, and de-listed previously-covered, so-called “universal” health coverage? Is Clinton aware that Ontario’s health care system was called a “cruel game” by Ontario’s ombudsman, Andre Marin? Does Clinton know that a constitutional court challenge to Ontario’s healthcare monopoly has been launched by patient Lindsay McCreith? Does it matter that McCreith was almost killed by our health-system's wait-times, and was forced to get treatment in the U.S.? Does Clinton know of the nuances and implications of Quebec’s Chaoulli decision? Does Clinton know that Dalton McGuinty now admits that Ontario’s government spends 50% of Ontario's entire budget just in the Ministry of Health? While Clinton wags his finger at us, is he aware that a dog can get an MRI faster in Canada than a citizen? Does it matter to Clinton that in Ontario, about 1.2 million people (out of a population of over 12 million) don’t have a doctor? Does it matter that Ontario's socialized healthcare system is short 2,000 doctors (National Post, Nov.15, 2007)? Does it matter that even Canada's Liberal opposition leader, Stephane Dion, said (Toronto Sun, Aug.17, 2007): "We know that we have awful wait times in this country...On a per capita basis it's not very good, the number of doctors and nurses that we have in Canada...In many provinces it's almost impossible to have a family doctor." And, does it matter that Dion, ironically, said this about Canada in an interview after just having seen Michael Moore's Sicko?! Does it matter that, when even Canada's opposition leader admits Canada has severe healthcare issues despite forty years worth of imposed medicare, shows Moore's premise of Canada's halcyon health care is full of hot air?

Is Bill Clinton seriously trying to conjure up Canada as the template for HillaryCare II? Even the left in the States is aware that Canada is not the role model to envy if you’re seeking reforms.

In R.J Dickens’ Kansas Journal, “Do the math with Clinton”, Bill Clinton cites that the "U.S. spends 34 percent of its health care dollars on administration; nobody else in the world spends more than 19 percent. That means Americans are spending $300 billion more on paperwork. "We are the only country in the world that lets the financing tail wag the health care dog," Clinton said in a line that got him the biggest applause of the night."

At the Perspectives in Health Care Forum Conference Sponsored by Huron Consulting & Kellogg School of Management, May 19, 2006, Evanston, IL Clinton was quoted: " "I’ve done my best with my limited research resources available to analyze it. The nearest I can figure out, here’s the difference. We spend 34% of the American health care dollars on administration. No other country spends more than 19, that’s a 15% difference." "

The Canadian Press reported on Apr. 20, 2006 that “Clinton said the last thing anyone would want to do is let the "health care finance tail wag the health care dog." He said America did just that and the system is a mess.

He said the U.S. spends 34 per cent of its health-care costs on administration, equalling $280 billion "to pay two million people to go to work every day for all the providers and insurers and play tug-of-war."

"It is insane," said Clinton. "It is a colossal waste of money. Don't go down that road. Don't do anything that will lead to increased administrative costs."

By comparison, Canada spends 19 per cent on administration, Clinton said.”

So: do the math with Bill Clinton: according to him, if Canada’s socialist system ‘spends 19% on administration costs’, and if ‘no other country spends more than 19%’, then Canada has the second highest costs – according to Bill Clinton! But, that’s not how it's portrayed.

When Clinton had heart surgery at New York's Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia, did he meekly wait in line for messy, sub-standard, government-rationed service? We didn't see him pick Canada as his top medical choice, in fact we don’t see many Americans at all. They wouldn’t put up with it.

If renowned institutions like Johns Hopkins, the Cleveland Heart Clinic, or the Mayo Clinic are supposed evidence of a messy system, then that's the kind of mess that Canadians can only aspire to. And that’s where, out of necessity, our failed single-tier, supposedly-universal healthcare sham has forced many of us – to Clinton’s country, because that’s where it’s available.

I hope the Democrats don’t put an end to that.

No comments: