Tom Blackwell wrote in "Canadians star in U.S. ads attacking health care" (National Post, May 8, 2009):
"A former president of the Canadian Medical Association declares in a new U.S. television ad that patients here are languishing, suffering and even dying on wait lists, as a conservative lobby group ramps up the debate over health reform in the United States.
A pro-medicare advocate calls the $1-million ad campaign by Conservatives for Patient Rights (CPR) on CNN and Fox News an "outrageous" distortion of the reality in this country, and has drafted an open letter to U.S. President Barack Obama refuting its claims.
A B.C. medical broker who is also working with the U.S. group, however, says Americans must know the pitfalls of "single-payer" systems like Canada's.
Dr. Brian Day, who runs a private surgery clinic in Vancouver and served a controversial term as head of the medical association, is featured in the first CPR ad. It warns against government-controlled health care in the United States.
It cites alleged problems with the British and Canadian systems.
"Patients are languishing and suffering on wait lists," Dr. Day says. "Our own Supreme Court of Canada has stated patients are actually dying waiting for care."
The ad is a pre-emptive strike in the brewing debate over Mr. Obama's plan to reform health care to ensure that the 45 million Americans with no health insurance now gain coverage. The President has specifically stated, though, that he was not contemplating a Canadian-style system.
CPR, which plans more television spots, has already posted interviews with Rick Baker, the Vancouver medical broker, and Canadian patients relating their wait-list horror stories on YouTube.
"It's quite galling and quite outrageous, quite frankly, to have the past president of the Canadian Medical Association misrepresenting Canada's health-care system in the United States," said Michael McBane, spokesman for the Canadian Health Coalition, a union-backed advocate of the medicare system.
"I just really think it's important that the American people realize Brian Day is not the voice of Canadians."
In its letter to Mr. Obama, it also cites the checkered past of Rick Scott, the founder of CPR. He was ousted in 1997 as head of Columbia/HCA, a huge health-care company, after the firm paid $1.7-billion to settle charges alleging it had over-billed federal and state health programs.
Mr. Baker, whose Timely Medical Alternatives helps Canadians obtain speedier treatment in the United States, said his own motivation for co-operating with the group was in a way selfish. If America adopts health care similar to Canada's, he will have nowhere to send his clients, he said.
"We refer to America as Canada's ‘other' health care system," he said.
"It's like the release valve on a pressure cooker -- the U.S. availability. So if the U.S. were to adopt our dysfunctional system, where would I send my Canadian patients who are dying?"
He said his customers have included six people who were told by their Canadian doctors they could die before their number came up on the waiting list for various treatments.
The broker has agreed to do similar interviews with another free-market health lobby group, and is scheduled to address U.S. congressmen in Washington next month at CPR's request.
He said he will also be featured in a 30-minute advocacy infomercial that the organization is negotiating to run on American television.
When CPR sent Gene Randall, a former CNN and NBC correspondent, to Canada to conduct interviews, Mr. Baker linked him up with some of his clients.
They included Don Neufeldt, a Bradner, B.C., poultry farmer who related how he faced a wait of more than two years for surgery to fix a potentially fatal heart arrhythmia, then decided to pay to have the operation in Oklahoma City almost immediately.
"It was worth paying the money," he says in one CPR video posted on YouTube. "I'd pay it in an instant again."
It's equally "galling", isn't it, that unionist McBane fails to note that he himself is no "voice for Canadians" either - he's just a health-monopoly-status-quo-pushing statist, whose special-interest group would likely prefer seeing Obama Democrats "improve" the American system to the point that U.S. health care is just as outrageously bad as Canada's.
Tilting to a non-competitive, patient-choice-limiting, private-medical-insurance-banning, state-funded model is a prescription for failure and forced state-dependence; Obama has wisely (thus far) chosen not (see: Canadian single-payer health-care not good enough for Obama) to follow Canada's sicko socialized, state-run, supposedly-universal health-scare system - but that's not to say that Democrats couldn't conjure up something even worse, which, frighteningly, is entirely possible.
Ontario's Liberal government-run socialized health monopoly (which Liberal Premier Dalton McGuinty has already stated [see: Was Dalton McGuinty fibbing about Ontario's Liberal healthcare spending during the Sep.20, 2007 CTV televised Leaders' Debate? ] already eats up HALF of Ontario's entire budget) literally DEPENDS on nearby American available health-care capacity. Having the American system as a safety-valve allows Canadian socialists, and Liberal statists, such as St. Catharines Liberal MPP Jim Bradley, to pretend and to propagate the deception that state-run universality works.
Ontario's Liberal government-run health-care monopoly (Canada's largest, forced onto some 13 million Ontarians) is currently the focus of the McCreith / Holmes Supreme Court constitutional health-care challenge regarding its authoritarian, monopolist validity. (see: Canadian health-care: go wait in line and die if necessary)
We have seen Ontario's Liberals increase taxes while decreasing funding to their hospitals - while at the same time criminalizing the option of patients being able to plan and pay for their health care outside of the failing state-run monopoly. It is the Ontario Dalton McGuinty Liberal's monopolist health-care fascism that ought to be criminal.
President Obama should consider meeting with Dr. Brian Day to fully appreciate Day's perspective of the Canadian experience. Obama is welcome to read the disaster stories of Liberal state-run health-care manipulation in Ontario in my essay Liberal Healthcare Duplicity, An Ontario Overview 2003-2007 .