August 21st, 2009
06:00 PM ET

Canadians crossing the border for U.S. health care?



FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

We are constantly being told what a great health care system other countries like Canada, France and Britain have. But guess what? Some Canadians are crossing the border to Michigan to get health care.

And we're talking about more than just coming over for an appointment, quick lab test or a second opinion. According to an article in the Detroit Free Press, Canadian health agencies are creating formal partnerships with hospitals in Michigan to provide services not quickly available at home through their national health care system.

For example, the Ontario Ministry of Health has agreements with some Detroit hospitals for imaging tests, bariatric, heart and other services that have long waiting lists in Ontario. Rather than paying out of pocket for crossing the border, the bill is paid by the plan, sort of like staying with an in network doctor if you have private insurance in the U.S.

Michael Vujovich of Windsor came to Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit where he had an angioplasty done. The bill was $38,000. It was paid in full by the Ministry of Health in Ontario.

Canada sees this approach as better than shelling out money to build additional facilities in Canada to meet the demand for care. Critics of national health care systems like Canada's are quick to point out that the system is not working if they have to send their patients to the U.S.

Here’s my question to you: What does it mean that Canadians are crossing the border for U.S. health care?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Ruie from Brownstown, Michigan writes:
Dear Jack: You just have to look at the end of the article to show that it is working. He received his care, the Canadian health system paid for it, and he is alive and well today. Had he been a citizen of Detroit, he would owe the hospital all of that money plus interest, would have had to sell his house and declared bankruptcy.

Richard from Fairview, Texas writes:
It means that the Canadian people can not get adequate care in their own country under their own fabulous free government run health care plan. The same thing will happen in America under Obama care the exception being that we have no where to go for better care unless we want to stand in line in Mexico.

Terry writes:
It means Ontario officials are making smart use of available resources and Canadian tax dollars. Bravo! I've been covered by the Canadian heath care system since its inception in the 1960's. I wouldn't trade it for the US system – no way, no how, no sir.

Barrett from Toronto, Ontario writes:
I am a Canadian that frequents Florida and have had exposure to both systems. I see the difference between public health care and private. The difference is created because Canada can not afford the standard of immediate care that some Americans can pay for, nor are we given the choice. It is not a perfect world and future of your health care can not be decided "over the summer." Be careful what you wish for.

Paul from Canada writes:
As a Canadian, I have never known anyone who has done this, but I can state that this has nothing to do with the quality of our care or doctors, only that we border on a country with a radically different system of health care that rewards doctors and others in the industry, lavishly. Therefore there are more doctors available and people can see them more quickly.

Ryan from Galesburg, Illinois writes:
They must be lost!

Filed under: Health care
soundoff (429 Responses)
  1. Ryan from Wisconsin

    It means that those with the money are coming over for more expansive treatments. The problem with healthcare is not with those who can afford it, its with those who cannot.

    August 21, 2009 at 3:26 pm |
  2. bobwhite in Kansas

    Do Canadians follow CNN and your blog? Ask them. It sure has no credibilty for an old man in Kansas to speculate about that. But I can tell you for sure why many Americans go to Canada for their perscription drugs.

    August 21, 2009 at 3:28 pm |
  3. Mario (from) Vegas

    Ask Michael Moore this question because in his movie sicko he made it seem like Canada was the place to go to get better healthcare makes me wonder does Mike's research really have bias like Dr.Gupta stated?I'm jus wondering.........

    August 21, 2009 at 3:29 pm |
  4. Ann from Hampton, New Jersey

    Our health care system is better than theirs. Ask the people in the UK about their health care system and the high taxes they have to pay for it. I know. I have a daughter that lives there. At least when you go to your doctor here he knows your problems and can take care of them immediately. You do not have to wait months and you do not have to go to a room and not know what doctor will be handling only one of your problems. If you have more than one, you have to go back another time. I'll keep my health care plan, thank you, Pelosi.

    August 21, 2009 at 3:30 pm |
  5. Kimber ND

    I lived in Canada (Oshawa, Ontario) for 15 years and very much enjoyed my time there. When it comes to health care their system has a few problems – it is overburdened. There are not enough doctors in many areas of the country. They claim the cost per person is lower than ours – I believe that is misleading. I believe it is lower due to a lower level of service. I also wonder if the per person cost they use includes all of the levels of bureaucracy that manage health care or just end user care costs. I have yet to see a government agency that can run something more efficiently and cost effectively than private enterprise – so I am very skeptical of that idea. Bottom line – they come down here to get better services sooner.

    August 21, 2009 at 3:31 pm |
  6. Rae from Indiana

    You mean rich Canadians don't you Jack? It means they think they are too important to wait. Only the riff-raff wait their 'turn', don't you know that?

    August 21, 2009 at 3:31 pm |
  7. The Broker.

    Why? You pay the best wages. You have to. But what is it costing the USA. Canada could promise those (None American Surgeons), the same "High Bank-roll. I suppose that is why USA is going "Liquid"..

    August 21, 2009 at 3:33 pm |
  8. Amber - Austin, TX

    Why not? Americans go there for their cheaper pharmaceuticals.

    August 21, 2009 at 3:33 pm |
  9. Sandra in Temecula, CA

    That the healthcare in Canada sucks! They have to wait too long for appointments and surgeries. It should be a clear warning to those pushing for Socialized medicine here...............what we have may not be perfect, but why ruin it because they are so hell bent on change?

    August 21, 2009 at 3:38 pm |
  10. Kerry Florida

    Good question Jack. It simply means that the Canadian healthcare system is working because if you check the facts their government run healthcare over the past 50 years will cover their citizens if they want to go to any other doctor or specialist in the world.

    Does any of our insurance companies provide that?

    The approval rate in Canada for their government healthcare system is 80% so Jack why don't you ask "Why do most Canadians appreciate their healthcare system?"

    August 21, 2009 at 3:40 pm |
  11. Tom, Bradenton,FL

    Why are we always comparing health care with Canada, Britain and France. Why not with Germany or Japan? I lived there and they have great health care.

    August 21, 2009 at 3:42 pm |
  12. Terry from North Carolina

    The average American can no longer afford health care in the US. Between not having insurance at all or even if you have coverage the out of pocket expenses can bankrupt an individual real quick depending on the medical issue. Seniors on medicare have been going to Canada for their prescriptions for years now. When is our government going to wake up ?

    August 21, 2009 at 3:43 pm |
  13. Jay in Texas

    It means Canadians care enough to pay for the best medical treatment available to their citizens even if that treatment is not available in their country. I haven't heard the American hospital corporations griping about taking Canadian government money, have you?
    Brownwood, Texas

    August 21, 2009 at 3:44 pm |
  14. Bruce St Paul MN

    People of means come from all over the world to be treated at places like the Mayo Clinic. They certainly don't come here to deal with our insurance beurocracy or sit for hours in an E.R. waiting room. Americans cross the border too, in search of cheap drugs, inexpensive procedures,in places like Canada and Mexico, or banned or experimental procedures in places like Germany. I still haven't heard of a Canadian, Brit, Frenchman, or German who wants to switch to our medical and insurance system.

    August 21, 2009 at 3:45 pm |
  15. Alex in Seattle

    It means that the Canadian Government has enough money to take care of its people regardless of where they seek care. That is a good thing, Jack!

    August 21, 2009 at 3:49 pm |
  16. Alex in Seattle


    It means that the Canadian Government has enough money to take care of its people regardless of where they seek care. That is a good thing, Jack! Why don't we take care of OUR people like that?

    August 21, 2009 at 3:50 pm |
  17. David Alexandria, VA

    It means that their experiment at nationalized care is inordinately expensive and we shoulod find somethinig better.

    But, don;t worry, when we start rationing ObamaCare, we won't have the capacity for the Canadians. Of course, a part of the reason for that is that the health care bills seems to overlook a citizenship requirement to get care at our cost - so we'll also be running the national health care system of Mexico.

    August 21, 2009 at 3:50 pm |
  18. steve in florida

    Well, that blows the whole "long wait" talking point out of the water.
    Apparently they're concerned enough about their citizens in need that they'll even pay American prices rather than put off treatment. And what's their added cost? Zero.

    August 21, 2009 at 3:51 pm |
  19. Dave, Brooklyn, NY

    I don’t buy it. How come no one ever heard about Canadians coming here for their healthcare, or prescription drugs for that matter, before. How come only now all of a sudden? And why to places like Detroit? Why not the major centers like New York, Philadelphia etc. with world renown hospitals? Sounds like the same Astroturf crap we’ve been listening to for the last few weeks. Something stinks here.
    But even if it is true, the bottom line is that Canada still picks up the tab for their citizens, unlike the US. They are dealing with the situation and providing for their citizens – whatever it takes, unlike the US who only have serious healthcare for the wealthy and members of Congress.

    August 21, 2009 at 3:54 pm |
  20. Bill from pa

    In a country as vast, and in many cases, as sparsely poulated as Canada, of course it will make sense to send patients to another closer facility, even another country, if the need for the facility in that part of the country is rarely needed. This is just another ploy by the Insurance industry twisting a situation to put their position in a supposedly better light.

    August 21, 2009 at 3:54 pm |
  21. C.K. of Colorado

    It doesn't mean anything. Our population growth is out of control, and we just don't have enough doctors in the world to keep up with the amount of the sick. How many American's are without insurance? Canadians can waltz right in and take an appointment. They get fast attention mostly because the hospitals here already know they'll get their money.

    August 21, 2009 at 3:55 pm |
  22. Vincent OBrien

    Well as far as I can see its working. The patient was taken care of and it was paid for by the Canadian gov't. Sometimes you just have to be practical. The best way to solve the problem is to use the means available.

    August 21, 2009 at 3:59 pm |
  23. william fitzwater

    I think it is the other way around I know many Canadians who keep their citizenship so they don't have to worry about health care. Some do come into the US because they have 2 things money and they have been denied coverage. Most of those cases are small in comparison. I also think more Canadians might go to Mexico or other counties just like US citizens because procedures cost much less. Medical tourism.
    Isn't it a shame to US clinics set up in LA or Tenn giving free care. Look how many show up . How many appear to be undocumented workers. Most seem to be ordinary people who are US citizens . I think this speaks volumes as to what is wrong here in the United States.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:01 pm |
  24. Bill, Quarryville, Pennsylvania

    Jack, the people coming across the border from Canada have Health Care and are covered in Michigan. How fast do you think the 50 million people without Health Care will be treated in Michigan or any other place in the United States? That's why we need a healthcare bill because it will only get worse and more people will join those already without Health Care. If we keep our Healthcare System as it is the only people receiving quality treatment fast or otherwise here in the United States would be the rich and Canadians crossing the border.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:05 pm |
  25. Jack Martin in Florida

    It means that the Canadian system is working well for the Canadians. Apparently Canada is interested in their citizens health.
    Their healthcare system pays wherever the Canadian citizen goes.
    Quel difference!

    August 21, 2009 at 4:08 pm |
  26. Denny from Tacoma, WA

    It means that they have the financial resources to seek more rapid health care. Some countries with socialized medicine also have private options for those who can afford them.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  27. Kevin Washington

    It does not mean anything , their are american who go to
    Mexico for health care ,and reason , cheaper perscription
    drugs and all sort of things, Hell im a injured worker and cant get the employer to except responsibility for my injury, and they have insurance and refuse to pay anything.
    Pass the health care bill !!!!!!!!

    Kevin Riv. CA.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  28. Brian


    No one is denying the quality of health care Americans get...if they can pay for it. The issue is with the cost, and that's why the system must be reformed. Canadians may not have as high quality care in cases of rare illnesses, but then again, it's all FREE.

    Boise, ID

    August 21, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  29. James In Idaho

    Jack, Canadians arent' coming here for better healtyhcare, they're coming here for better technology. Capitalism may screw the little guy in the end, but it also causes people with advanced technology to horde it to themselves, and restrict that newer technology to others.

    People coming here from Canada for healthcare is the equivalent of people from Isreal buying our military tech as opposed to buying military tech from poland.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  30. JWC in Atlanta

    American care givers are good at the big money care. When there's big money, there you'll find the big pharmas, the big doctors, the big medical research etc. For broken bones, the flu, the low money stuff, Canadians know better than to come here and pay inflated prices for routine care. If a rich Canadian needs a liver transplant else death is imminent, they aren't going to stand in that long Canadian line to try to get themselves fixed.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  31. Barbara from Coral Springs, Fl

    If Canada doesn't have enough facilities to take care of all their citizens, what do you think will happen if 45 million more people go on the books. I guess we will have to go to Mexico for care. There are more negative stories about the Canadian plan then positive ones, lets not jump all over this one.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  32. Maria

    It means our Canadian brethern are smart, willing and able to choose where they obtain healthcare, and the government is visionary and secure within the government to do what works for them.


    August 21, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  33. Dea in Fayetteville NC

    It means that we are great at the expensive stuff, as long as you have the means to pay for it. As long as we provide the services why should Canada build their own facilities, buy the equipment, and hire and train the people to work in them. They'll let us take all the financial risks, they'll take advantage of the spaces left empty because Americans can't afford the tests.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  34. Richard, Syracuse, NY

    To me it says that there is a great deal more money floating around in the US Health Care to buy all these machines than in the Canadian Health Care system.

    BUT was anyone denied a critical test at a critical time? Or are some people just not going to sit and wait. Kind of like the wealthy who buy their way to the front of the line in a fancy restaurant.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  35. patty/ Vancouver Island

    It means we are flexible when it comes to healthcare...which is a good thing....
    I have never met another Canadian that has gone to the US for medical services that did not require a Nip & Tuck....

    August 21, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  36. Kelly, Burlington Ontario

    The biggest problem Canadians have with our health care system it wait times, which cause a lot of stress for patients requiring treatment. If someone lives in a border town like Windsor and requires a procedure for which there is a long wait list in Windsor but there is not in Detroit, it makes sense for them to hop across the border for care. The canadian system has its flaws, but we can't ignore the facts that we pay way less than the US on healthcare per capita, and we have better health.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  37. Donna Colorado Springs,Co

    Obviously because there are some problems with Canadian health care. There will be problems with our plan too, and anyone who thinks that when the reform bill is passed, that everything will be problem free needs to think again.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  38. Deb in Lancaster, PA

    It means more money for U.S. doctors and health care facilities, and a smart Canadian health care system. I've got a question for you, Jack. What does it mean when Americans go to Canada for medications? It means the U.S. pharmaceutical industry is gouging Americans. They sell it to Canada and Canada can sell it to us cheaper. Disgusting.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  39. Sandra H Howerton Rocky Mount, NC

    Opponents of universal care talk about foreigners coming here for treatment, but they do not mention the thousands of Americans who go to Thailand, Singapore, India, and other countries for major surgery that they cannot afford here. The important thing is that the Canada is taking care of the health needs of its citizens. That is more than what our hodgepodge, inequitable "system" is doing for us!

    August 21, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  40. Darren

    Sounds like another manafactured talking point from the party of no new ideas, no leadership, and no change of retaking the White house this decade.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  41. Everett Beights,Miami OK

    It means the same thing that the US citizens go to Other parts of the world for treatment. re: The movie star who went to Germany for cancer treatment.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  42. James, Brooklyn-NY

    Because it's too cold up there, and they want to see the statue of liberty and the empire state building. Otherwise, I don't see any reasons for them to cross border for healthcare. By the way, the rich ones can afford expensive surgeries in the USA while the poor can still be covered for basic needs in Canada, something that we should follow.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  43. Pablo in Arlington Texas

    Dear Jack
    It means that the Canadian system does not work as well as the British NHS or the Spanish NHS or the French... well, you see where I am going with this. Like us Yanks, the Canadians like to cry poor at being taxed to provide social services, and like us, they ain't really that poor. The difference is they need more health care infrastructure per capita. We have tons of infrastructure but it is under utilised because folks can't afford it. The private health care industry would rather soak the Canadians' health care service than let our uninsured get the use of it.
    We need a pulic option insurance program!

    Arlington Texas

    August 21, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  44. Mike Spring, TX

    It means that Pelosi, Obama, etc are lying to the American public about how great the single payor system is. If we want competition for health insurance costs, just tear down the walls the States have built around themselves, and make it easy for people to organize into purchasing groups – like credit unions.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  45. Mike from Denver

    It means there is still a lot to be learned from the examples of other countries. The only problem now is that politicians have lost sight of the goal at hand, and will miss the mark.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  46. SHARON: Anchorage, Alaska

    Though Canada has almost twice as many doctors to their patient ratio category as the U.S.; we still have better quality & more timely care; plus accessibility to more specialists than just about any nation. If you wanted to save the life of a family member or prevent a delay of services, most people would travel to the end of the world if necessary & able to do so.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  47. mike k - caledonia, mi

    It's nice to know that Canadians have Health Insurance. In our system of Private Health Insurance, you can't even cross county lines without paying a massive out of network fee. There is little comparison between the HC in Canada and the U.S. The systems are nothing alike and comparing what we have or what we are trying to get to don't hold up.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  48. Hubert Bertrand Oberlin La.

    How many people from the U.S. goes to CANADA?? How many canadian come to the U.S. for health care?? I would like to know this before I make up my mind. There might be a good reason. Politicians like to mix up our mind. Every time a politician say something, You can bet some one pais him to say it.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  49. Nancy, Grand Ledge,MI

    It means that Canadians can afford our health care because their government is paying for it.. Illegal immigrants get it for free. But many hard working Americans have to go without because can't afford it!

    August 21, 2009 at 4:35 pm |

    No one said we didnt have excellent medical technology.
    The Canadians recieving health care from the US is just icing on the cake for them. Who cares if they have to come to the US to recieve treatment that would have taken longer to get in Canada...Its all paid for.
    What better compliment to getting free health care than coming to the US for more free specialized treatment.
    Jack, lets ask the Canadians if they want to swap how health care is handled.
    To me its a small price to pay when you look at the big picture.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  51. RDR Texas

    It sounds like to me,theirs is not working,which our Goverment wants the same kind huh?

    August 21, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  52. James Lenon - Chuckey TN

    It means that Canada realizes that no system of health care delivery is perfect and is willing to place its citizens first and provide them necessary care.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  53. Cheryl

    I noticed that you did say that the Canadian's $38,000 bill was paid by the Canadian government plan. What is the problem? It make sense for Canada to utilize facilities that are geographically close, rather than build duplicates – just like it would benefit the USA to do the same along borders. Sounds like smart fiscal thinking on Canada's part to me. Maybe we could learn something here.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:44 pm |
  54. Tom

    Jack, the biggest issue as I see it is jobs, we have to get the people working first, all else will come togather..# 2. we have the best Health now, improve it ...I don't see that happening...# 3. we don't believe Obama , mainly because of approach ..can't jam things down peoples throats .....when our people in Congress don't read what they say they support....unbelievable...Thanks

    August 21, 2009 at 4:46 pm |
  55. Richard B.C. Canada

    There are critical shortages of medical specialists and nurses in Canada because they can earn more working in the U.S. The majority of Canadians live in general proximity to the U.S. border. They are more likely to enter the U.S. for health care than rural Canadians who often rely on local alternative health care and an attitude of contrary national identity too proud to accept American medical treatment. The waiting time for relatively simple procedures in Canada is sometimes lengthy and would be generally unacceptable to American patients. Medical technology in some parts of Canada is comparatively outdated and more inconvenient than what most Americans have routinely become accustomed to. (I am a U.S. citizen living in Canada.)

    August 21, 2009 at 4:46 pm |
  56. al in delaware

    The key thing is that his bill was PAID IN FULL by his government . Name an American health insurance company that would do that. Also he didn't have to pay a dime in monthly insurance premiums. Those American idiots that want to keep paying higher and higher premiums and co- pays to greedy private insurance thieves are crazy. Give me what the Canadians have.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:48 pm |
  57. Ruie - Brownstown, MI

    Dear Jack: You just have to look at the END of the article to show that it is working. He received his care, the Canadian health system paid for it, and he is alive and well today. Had he been a citizen of Detroit, he would owe the hospital all of that money plus interest, would have had to sell his house and declared bankruptcy. We would've had to pay for it in the end anyway.

    Quite a few here in Michigan go to Canada to get cheaper drugs and medical care. We have close friends who have moved over to Canada because of health problems. In fact, Senator Debbie Stabenow used to take busloads of Senior Citizens to Canada once a month to get their drugs.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:49 pm |
  58. Meg from Troy, Ohio

    It means that the Canadian system is flexible and resourceful enough to find a way to get its patients treated in a way that it is effective and convenient for them. I am impresssed. It's too bad that the American healthcare system is not equally as flextible and effective.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:50 pm |
  59. Mike

    Canadians come to the USA for health care facilities for treatment for a similar reason as to why thieves rob banks.

    The USA is where the best health care is to be found.

    And banks are where the money is!

    Springfield VA

    August 21, 2009 at 4:51 pm |
  60. Sherri-Illinois

    Funny what a MILLION dollars a day can do to change the mindset of people who believe the falsehoods on foxnews and conservative talk radio. Senior citizens are gullible for anything and thats sad because they sound for venomous! Money talks AND the private health insurance companies got a BILLIONS to burn. How sad!

    August 21, 2009 at 4:51 pm |
  61. Jackie in Dallas

    It means that we have exported American impatience across the border, Jack, and that Canadians have been infected with it.

    They can get the same care in Canada for free, but it will take longer if it is non-essential to health and well-being. So, as long as Canada is paying for it, why not come here? It is just like going out of plan on private insurance here, except that the insured have to pay the cost rather than the plan.

    Personally, I lost faith with the American health care system myself when doctors, insurance companies and pharmaceudical companies left hundreds of people who worked at the detriment to their lives and welfare on 9/11 and who became chronicaly ill and were then denied care. It took them some of them going to Cuba, for goodness sake, to get treated! It's just the bottom line here, that's all that matters.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:53 pm |
  62. Sara

    It means no country's health care plan can survive on its own. Canada, the US as it stands right now, and the health care plans in europe and cuba. What each one lack, another has, what each has, some other country benefits from.
    Seems to me, Jack, that real reform that will actually work will have combinations of all these counry's health care plans. All these countries are in a symbiotic relationship when it comes to health care, ecomomy, food, energy, etc.

    We are part of a global community.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:54 pm |
  63. Lance, Ridgecrest, Ca

    It says the same thing that it says when the Mexicans cross the border. The health care is better here than it is in their own country. The difference is that the Canadians bring money and the Mexicans bring only the need, expecting the care for free. The bad news, they are getting it. Want Health Care Reform, enable the hospitals and Doctors to say "No insurance, no money, NO care" without facing law suits. That would be constructive health care reform.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:56 pm |
  64. Adele Matthews

    The Republicans will never let healthcare reform happen as long as they are living & breathing. They gave it lip service for over 8 yrs. & never did a thing about it. Why, all of a sudden, are they screeching about reform now???? Where have these loud-mouthed idiots been hiding for the past 8 yrs.?

    A Native Texas

    August 21, 2009 at 4:57 pm |
  65. john

    Jack while its true that some Canadians do go to the U.S for some specialized treatments, they are the exceptions...
    In Canada our government with our tax dollars cover every Canadian's health care from the Delivery room to the Autopsy....
    It pays for Operations...Emergency care...Organ Transplant and
    lifelong general medical care...
    Sure we pay for it ! !
    Through the nose many Canadians will say, but we never have to budget for a kids eye surgery, or go short on food this month because
    one of our children broke an arm...
    How can we afford it????
    Spending only 3% of our annual national budget on the Military helps....
    but the bottom line is how can we not do it.?????
    Every politician in Canada knows one thing when they get into office
    "don't screw with health care".
    its the political 3rd rail in this country.


    August 21, 2009 at 4:57 pm |
  66. Dale Portland, ME.

    Cananda is a sparsely populated country and there are so few poeple per square mile that it is no surprise that some of them are much closer to a U.S. hospital which is much more densely populated. They are coming to American hospitals because they are alot closer, not because thier healthcare is ineffective

    August 21, 2009 at 5:00 pm |
  67. martha j. pierce

    I have read all the details of the following heath care systems: Canada, UK, France, Switzerland, Japan and Taiwan. They are all good systems. I have had direct understanding of health care in Spain when my husband had a heart attack in that country. All the plans have some weaknesses, but ours is no exception in that area.
    France incrementally developed their system beginning in 1928 and somewhere in 2000 covered the las 1% of its population. Canada probably does a better job on the wellness and prevention side of health care. Japan is doing a good job with its plan, all have a Medicare plus component. Americans want to believe we are the best in everything. Then why are a group of doctors touring the country to care for long lines of people who have no insurance? Is this the best we can do?

    August 21, 2009 at 5:02 pm |
  68. Rosemary Robertson

    It's interesting, if this is true, that the Canadian gov't would permit their citizens to seek health cáre treatment in the USA but we criminalized our seniors when they tried to purchase medications from Canada at reduced prices. We're still being held hostage by insurance and drug companies. It must stop now. The voters are watching all of the legisators who are dragging their feet and lying to us. They may need some health care reform when they lose their jobs for playing footsie with the insurance companies and the lobbies.

    August 21, 2009 at 5:03 pm |
  69. a little sad

    It means that the health system is actively managing their costs, deciding that an under-utilzed capital item (new facility) is not the best use of their funds.

    They are picking up the bill, not the patient. The Detroit hospitals are being paid, not chasing some insurance company for payment. The patient gets needed treatment.

    Sounds like a win all around.

    August 21, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  70. Trueman - Toronto, Ontario

    Hi Jack,
    Obama himself told our Prime Minister at the recent summit in Mexico that Canada will continue to be the "boogey man" in the health care debate. Yes, we have longer wait times in some places than others. Yes, for-profit medical care tends to be higher quality. But look at the numbers before making grand statements about the flood of Canadians across the border. It's not like we're all flocking to the US for care, it's a very limited basis and certainly a good option to have since some provinces have no alternative to public care. Obama's plans are NOTHING like Canada's system and it's insulting to hear you Americans carrying on about Canada like we're a third world country or some Stalinist backwater. Something like three Canadians died last year because of wait times combined with extenuating circumstances; three people died last week in the US because their private insurance screwed them over.
    Trueman, Toronto, Canada

    August 21, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  71. Efrain

    It means that the government is looking out for it's citizens even if it takes sending them out of the country to get the treatment and care they need. Thas called looking out for people not profits first.

    August 21, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  72. cj

    I have family that lives in Canada, they complain that nonemergency services are rationed, and you have to get on a waiting list. Emergency services are great they claim. In order to keep Dr.s at their clinic in town the city has had to provide a free Lakeside Condo. He tells me that everyone in town walks on eggs around him, because they don't want to be the one who ran him off. A couple of my family has come to the states for surgery etc, because they fgot tired of waiting for it.

    August 21, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  73. Tom

    a) Canadian system is rated only marginally better than system in US
    b) Canadian system is overloaded – you get A+ service if you don't die while waiting for it
    c) Canadian system is expensive with people in provinces such as Ontario pay extra tax surcharge

    Summary: No one wants US to go the Canadian way – the French with system at #1 are the target.

    Also note that Health Ontario pays full bill of outsourced service, so this is not for rich Canadians. This is a way to speed things up without building new hospitals in Ontario.

    August 21, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  74. George , New York

    Once again Corporate-owned CNN is twisting the truth. The idea that Canadians are lined up along the Michigan border in hopes of getting healthcare is a joke. Quit twisting the facts and start telling the truth. The United States is the only developed country in the world that does not have universal healthcare. The 'few' Canadians who cross the border are wealthy elites wanting superficial and high end treatments that they would either have to wait for or are deemed cosmetic.

    August 21, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  75. Brent

    The problem is not whether patients are taken care of – they are through contracting to the U.S. This is no secret, it is part of their formal process. It just doen't get a lot of press down here. The bigger pictures is that the Canadian Health System can not develop its own advanced medical practices so they farm it out to a country that has developed the capability based on the private (for profit) sector – the same evil entities that everyone down here likes to bash. What would these patients do were they not sent down to the U.S.? I guess get in line and wait longer or go without. That's the bigger issue. Canada's system, while paid for publicly, is not a stand alone system and it does not have the capacity internally to develop and support the most advanced medical procedures and deliver them in a timely fashion. And note – this from a country that has a population roughly the size of California!

    August 21, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  76. jj alberta

    Canada's health care "best in the world" class is not true. Immigrants like me always regret coming to this country when our kids get sick and have to wait more than 12 hours in a hospital to get medical attention for an emergency.

    August 21, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  77. Jim

    Chicago, IL

    Maybe, given that you mentioned a very specific local situation, where people in what is essentially a single city (Windsor-Detroit) are crossing a bridge to get to a local hospital, it means that Detroit is dying and the hospitals there are underused. So the Canadians are using them instead of building more in the same area.

    The bigger questions as far as our healthcare reform is concerned might be:
    How many people in Detroit are getting those treatments in those same Detroit hospitals? How many people in Detroit cannot afford to get those treatments in those Detroit hospitals even though they need them?

    August 21, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  78. pete in ontario

    as a canadian reading the responses of american views on our heath care, it only makes me laugh. if i call for an appointment to see my doctor i usually have to wait a day or two, my neighbour is having a hip replacement, her time to see a specialist is 6 weeks, my wife is having an operation on her bladder, total time from start to finish, 3 months. these are first hand instances, not my sister knows a person who knows a person. jack, if you fell ill while visiting in ontario, you would be looked after, no questions, try that in america. my father in his declining years was hospitalised no less that 18 times in 3 years, often for one to two weeks at a time, again, no questions, no risk of denial of insurance or treatment. my father received the best of care, from dedicated professionals. i praise our health care system jack, children do not pay, retirees do not pay and my wife pays approx $75 per month for her own coverage. compare this to the american style system and figure out this is truly universal, affordable health care.

    August 21, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  79. Kim O. in Calgary, Canada


    I'm a proud Canadian and would not trade our health system with U.S. system. America has a Healthcare Business and we have a Healthcare delivery system. It works by a triage formula. The worst get seen first. We can choose any Doctor we want to see. The system is far from perfect but as someone with limited funds and some medical issues, I can keep a roof over my head, food on my table and no pile of medical bills. Our system is not free for everything. You still pay for prescriptions, eye care and dental care. We either get that from private insurance at work or pay on our own. We are only covered for hospital, Doctor appointments and test's, xrays and the like. We also do much more preventive medicine and electronic records are also cutting costs. The amount of misinformation, out right lies about both country's care is sad to see. I wish the U.S. all the best in this reform. Kim in Calgary.

    August 21, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  80. Tim - Vancouver, Canada

    It means that health insurance coverage that's truly dedicated to the health of the individual will not be lost if – as is currently the case in the U.S. – the patient loses their job, has a pre-existing condition, or the treatment is rendered outside of a "network" or even outside the country. I moved to Canada two years ago and I no longer worry about being denied coverage, paying exorbitant premiums, or if I'll have enough money to pay the bill, because it's already been prepaid through my modest government taxes.

    August 21, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  81. Mary Jo

    Who is looking at the Canadian system besides you, Jack? Certainly no one in Congress has proposed anything close to the Canadian system. Are you, too, trying to stir up the pot and scare people with something that is not even on the table? I thought you were better than that.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  82. Scott Hanley

    The Canadian citizen is guaranteed to get treatment, and his government is taking steps to provide it at the lowest cost. The problem here is ... what?

    August 21, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  83. Brit

    The flip-side of this story is that many employers in border towns hire Canadian workers because they can't afford to pay the health care costs of American workers. So much for job security for Americans.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  84. Richard Menard

    Ya but Jack, The Canadian government is picking up the tab. If an American came over here with out government healthcare like in the U.S.A, they would have to pay out of pocket.

    So whats your point ?

    August 21, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  85. Tony

    Not much because they still are not paying an outrages price for it.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  86. Andrew

    Jack, I think its testament to how well off Canadians are if they can cross the border and have their elective surgeries paid for in full by their national health care program. Do you really think most private american plans would let patients go out of state to get elective surgery and pay it in full? Doubtful.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  87. Michael/TN

    It means there is excess capacity in the US created by underinsurance and overpayment for services. We pay for empty beds when we pay premiums.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  88. Jeff

    Americans travel to India for elective surgery because health insurance here does not cover such procedures, period! So a Canadian traveling to the USA for an elective procedure that is fully covered by health insurance is still further ahead and better covered than most Americans.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  89. Richard in Queretaro, Mexico

    It means that the Canadians just don't have enough money to fly to India where many Americans are going for their surgical needs where every report shows excellent service at low costs.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  90. Whatrwetodo?

    It means that the Canadian government has enough money to pay the bills, but not enough money to build the necessary hospitals and facilities to take care of their own. Another example of how nationalized health care rations spending to keep costs down.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  91. Don Parker, CO

    It means the Obama Administration has a lot more "selling" to do if they wanna give us the "enema" that is the current healthcare bill !

    August 21, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  92. Peter

    What it means is that the Canadian system works! They have a shortage of equipment and they find a solution. They do not let their patients stranded, deny services or bill them to death. But that cannot be accepted as a logical viable and fair solution by the blind and stuborn.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  93. Randy Huggins

    Although Canada has a shortage of facilities and physicians they don't use that as an excuse to deny the people the treatment they need.
    The canadians recieve care and it is paid for. Sounds like the system works to me.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  94. Steve - New York

    Jack, you said it, the Canada's Ministry of Health paid for the procedure. What is wrong with the government of the people for the people keeping the people healthy while saving them money on the basic human right of health care?

    August 21, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  95. Ann-Marie Clements

    Hi Jack,

    There are many Americans crossing the border to Canada because they can't get health care in the U.S. You need to look at both sides of the argument. There are plus & minus on both sides of the border and people do jump for a variety of reasons; plastic surgery, specialties and just plain health care.
    Ann-Marie Clements (former New Yorker living in Canada the last 5 yrs)
    Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada

    August 21, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  96. Roger

    What does it mean to spent $38,000 for angioplasty in the USA where you can get a similar procedure in Brazil or Argentina for $5000???
    It means that you are stupid or you are in the hands of a corrupt medical system

    August 21, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  97. Ted Julius

    That is the kind of report that purposely confuses people. Sounds to me like the system is working fine. Canada is paying the bill. They are just making the best use of the capacity that exists out there on the market. The US hospital gets cost abosrption and the patient gets speedy care. What would the alternative be.... Canada invests in more capacity and our hospitals remain under-utilized becuase our system doesn't work.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  98. Sooner - Owasso, OK

    It means there was a circumstance this person had to cross the border for healthcare. It DOES not mean the system is broke. The Canadians and everyone else in the world had a better deal than we here in the US.
    I'm for worldwide healthcare for all citizens of the world.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  99. Randy Charles Morin

    I laugh at Americans who think our health system in Canada doesn't kick ass. I pay $0 in premium for a $0 deductible. My cousin in the U.S. with a family of 5 paid $2k+ per month for $20 deductible, but had to switch to a $1k+ per month for $3000 deductible per person because they couldn't afford it anymore. You Americans are dumb!

    August 21, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  100. Barbara Dutcher

    I live in California as a legal resident but grew up in Canada and never had to wait for medical care there. I was always able to get an appointment within a day or two. The crummy HMO I have now takes me two months to see my doctor. We need to stop all this whining and take care of each other now.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  101. Adam Walker

    As a Canadian, it goes to show you that under our government plan, our government will go out of the way to get me my care. Instead of bumping me to the front of the line in my own country and pushing everyone else back, they go to you guys where money is the answer. They simply pay so we get our care first.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  102. ChrisRichards

    So Jack I have read that for every one Canadian that goes to the US for care, 50 Americans go to other countries to afford surgeries that are unaffordable in the US. It appears if Ontario's medical care system is paying for Canadians to go to the US, UHC is still taking care of the people!

    August 21, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  103. TDurant

    As bad as that sounds the funny thing is you said the health ministry of Canada paid for the whole operation. I know I pay more for family health care than many people pay for their mortgage, something has to change.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  104. Calvin

    Ok Jack.. stop the scare tatics with uncommon examples...ask if all of Canada is crossing the border for care in the US of is it just few folks, for example in the US with +40million without care I wonder if Canada has millions of people coming the US for care. I bet if ran the numbers more people from US go to Canada for care right now than Canadians coming to the US...go ahead run the numbers and report on that...Jack

    August 21, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  105. Alex - Winnipeg Canada

    It just shows quite simply that our government will do what's neccessary to assure the health and longevity of our population. This is a weakness? You tell me how Jack.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  106. Kris Craig in Olympia, WA

    Jack, could we please stop pretending that Canada is the only example of nationalized health care in the world? Their system has problems because it's poorly managed and structured. Why aren't we talking about The Netherlands, Sweden, and all the other Scandanavian countries? Not to mention France, Israel, etc? Canada is one of the worst examples of universal health care, and yet we continue using their problems as proof that national health care won't work, completely ignoring the fact that most other countries with national health care do not have the same problems.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  107. Jeff

    It doesn't mean anything about the functionality of their health care system, it merely means that they have inadequate infrastructure. The fact that their system is incorporating hospitals outside of their borders actually demonstrates its strengths, not its weaknesses.

    isla vista, ca

    August 21, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  108. Margaret from SC

    Jack ~
    Well, what does it mean when people from our country go elsewhere to get treatment for cancer or other diseases that has not been approved here? I think this happens everywhere ~ people go to get help where ever they feel that it will give improved health. As long as people pay, what difference does it make?

    August 21, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  109. Rick

    I have a very wealthy, elderly Canadian client who moved to Florida because he was not confident that he or his family could get the quality and timely healthcare in Canada. He is thinking about moving again.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  110. John Kulp

    What it means is that people are cherry picking things on both sides, pretending that it is representative of the whole system. You could just as easily point out how Americans are going to Mexico, Thailand and a host of other places to receive care that they can't get here because it's too expensive. Is this representative of the system as a whole? Of course not. It is well beyond the time to grow up, get rid of the shouters on both sides and have an intelligent analysis and discourse on solving the problem. After all, it is hard to hide from the fact that we rank 37th in the world in quality of care as measured by the WHO isn't it?

    August 21, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  111. Dave

    It means that our Canadian health care system isn't as well equipped as the US one. This is obvious, your country has more doctors, funding, and health care resources.

    However – it's still nice to have government that cares enough to pick up a 38,000 bill when their citizens are in need.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  112. Brandon, Oakland, CA

    It means Canada will pay for health care for it's citizens. It also means our national health care system is going to be is going to be great!

    August 21, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  113. Jim Green, Seguin, TX, www.Inclusivism.org

    What it means, Jack, is that someone is working over-time to get us to forget that we are paying twice as much for our healthcare than any other country in the world–and we are 37th in quality of healthcare–good for Canada for looking out for their patients-–but what does have to do with the nightmare we have in America?

    August 21, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  114. Jorge

    It means our health care is better....it should be as much as we pay for it!

    August 21, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  115. Ken Deminick

    Silly question Jack. You should ask, "What does it mean that as many as 50 million Americans DON'T have health care.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  116. Gary LeDrew

    Our healthcare system is not national. Each Province has its own heath care system. and receives money from the federal Government.
    At the moment we have a conservative government (republican) and ou heathe care system suffers because of it .

    August 21, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  117. Andrew

    All that shows is what most of us supporting a public option have known for a long time. If you can afford it, the US has some of the very best facilities and doctors in the world. If you cannot afford it, it's a roll of the dice.
    I wonder how many of those crossing the border would still do so if they had to pay huge co-pays or totally out of pocket for the treatment they received here in the US.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  118. Annie, Atlanta

    You answered it – lack of facilities. We have lots because there’s money to be made. I can take a 10 mile trip through two neighboring towns and encounter 3 hospitals, and an old one converted to a rehab center. And that doesn’t include emergency clinics.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  119. Ben

    I live in Toronto, and it bothers me if Canadians 'have to' seek medical operations in the US. I am happy with the health care that is available to me, and I know I will be taken care of. I didn't know that this included being sent to a US facility if it is deemed more "cost effective." I want to know more about this man. Is he rich? Is he a politician? Is he an athlete?

    August 21, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  120. Barry

    It is simple jack. It means the Canadian people are not happy with their own healthcare system. You know, like the one the congress is trying to ram down our throats.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  121. sherif

    HI Jack... No one denies that the US has one of the best facilities in the world, but the problem is that it's not available to tens of millions of US citizens!!!

    Ottawa, Ontario

    August 21, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  122. Thomas from Little Rock.

    You say the Canadian Ministry of Health paid for the visit?

    Next time I go to the doctor I'll try sending my bill to the U.S. surgeon general.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  123. sharon rohrbach

    My uninsured and unemployed daughter age 44 fell and injured her leg requiring surgery in Texas. 5 physicians refused to treat her because she had no insurance. Finally a physician ordered an MRI but refused to read her the results unless she paid $200. cash. I referred her to Planet Hospital A physician in India read the MRI free. She flew to India and received great surgery and care in a first rate facility plus 10 days hospitalization and bedside rehab. Cost? $2800. My son had the same surgery in the US and I can tell you as a Registered Nurse that my daughter received care in India that was superior to what he received here. Obviously something is VERY wrong with our healthcare system.
    Sharon Rohrbach, RN

    August 21, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  124. Brian

    I'll take that deal...so, I can go to Canada, receive whatever hospitalization and medical care the Canadian doctors think I need...and my carrier will pick up whatever the costs...without dickering...whatever they were? That's the public option I'm in favor of.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  125. Noah IL

    It simply means that they understand how to best use their own resources. Why build a hospital to accommodate patients when you can send them to a nearby one that will take them? It's not that they can't build new hospitals to accommodate their citizens, it's just that, since ours will, why not let us?

    August 21, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  126. amanda

    Jack-I am upset at the awful coverage Canadian care is getting on CNn.
    here is my experience-I am 63.Last year-i had my gall bladder out.All the tests,xrays,specialists,surgeon,time in hospital,after op. care-cost me nothing.!!!
    I pay $50 a month-50 per cent is refunded to me by the govt.
    I had a fall last winter-taken to hospital in an ambulance-8 hours in hospital-all covered by my basic fees of $25 monthly.
    I love our system-no-one goes uncovered or broke or turned down.
    That would be anathena to a Canadian.
    Please give fair coverage.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  127. Pete

    I've lived in Toronto, Canada and in Germany. Both countries where health care is fully provided by the government, and woth regard to your question I can safely say that nationalized health does work well. The problem Canada has in providing prper health care to its citizens is tied with its lack of good infrastructure in rural areas such as WIndsor. Long story short, do not compare the United States with its massive investment opportunites to such a large country as Canada with a population with merely 32 million where it simply isn't affordable to set up the infrastrucure needed to cover every corner of the country regardless of the number of people actually living there.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  128. Dan (Toronto, Ontario)

    Reconsider the phrasing of your question – Canadians are not crossing the border to get US Health Care, they're crossing for Health Services.

    In the case of the man getting the angioplasty, he crossed down solely to get the procedure done, not to adopt the entire US Health Care system, thereby adopting the bill that comes along with it. Remember, that some odd $40,000 was still covered by our government, a fee Michael would have no doubt had to cover on his own had he been American.

    Keeping the money in mind, I think us Canadians are doing just fine in terms of Health Coverage.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  129. Sander Barber

    It means that Canadians have better access to US Healthcare facilities than a great many US citizens do. BECAUSE of Canada's single payer system, not despite it. THat isn't denying their citizens anything, it's using the available resources wisely.

    It's just not as complicated as some insurance and Pharmaceutical companies want us to think.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  130. Patricia

    It says to me that Canada cares enough about their citizens to pay for needed health care no matter where they have to send them to get it. Their hands are not tied by insurance companies.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  131. kenechee

    Some medical tests require a great expense in equipment, yet are performed rarely. If I am in Canada and have 100,000 patients and only one needs an expensive test, why should I invest in a multi-million dollar piece of equipment? Just send them to the USA. That Canadians are crossing into the USA to use our expensive equipment just shows how well the Canadian health care system works. They care about keeping costs low. We, in the USA, however, file for bankruptcy.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  132. jc

    That system is an example of what government run healthcare in the US would become. What happens when 30-50 million get added into a healthcare system and you don't have an equivalent increase of physicians? An overburdened system and incredibly long waits to even be seen. And...with the huge stress on the system and people, I imagine customer support becomes much worse, kind of like any state DMV.

    Canadians wouldn't be streaming into the United States for healthcare if there weren't significant problems/issues with their own national healthcare system. But....lets all stick our heads in the sand and pretend it doesn't happen.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  133. Jay Bailey Canadian

    Windsor is a major border city... So it would make cent$ to send them to detroit.... The next city closest city to Windsor would be London 2 hours away....

    Many Canadians go to the US because they have the money to do it now....

    But what about the poor, below middle class... When will the BOTH PARTIES look out for them

    August 21, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  134. Gene Lucas

    Ask also, how many Americans have moved to foreign countries to get their free care?

    August 21, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  135. Ove Salomonsson

    it obviously means that NHS is acting responsibly in the best interest of the patient even if it means going across the border to get the services needed, and even if it means paying a steep U.S premium for it.

    Farmington Hills Michigan

    August 21, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  136. Terry

    It means Ontario officials are making smart use of available resources and Canadian tax dollars. Bravo! I've been covered by the Canadian heath care system since its inception in the 1960's. I wouldn't trade it for the US system – no way, no how, no sir.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  137. Sandra (Ottawa, Canada)

    Outsourcing makes good financial sense–why duplicate services when they are available in a neighbouring jurisdiction? Treatment costs are still covered by the patient's government health plan, so it's not a hardship on them. Similar arrangements exist between provinces. This is certainly not an indictment of the Canadian health care system, which most Canadians are quite happy with.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  138. Ray

    It means the system is working for the Canadian citizens that choose to come to the United States for the procedures. American citizens only have the choice of going broke or not getting the procedures when they either can't afford the insurance or their insurance refuses to pay.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  139. John

    Great example with the guy from Windsor going for heart surgery in Detroit. Sure, the Canadian government paid the $38,000 and guess what, probably only two, maybe three people handled the claim from the bill to payment. Here in the US the paperwork, procedures and payments would be shuffled between provider, payer, and patient nearly a dozen times. Why, because none of the insurance companies want an efficient and frictionless system because that's how they make their money. There are tons of studies out there that show anywhere from 12 to 17 people handle healthcare paper work between the time a doctor touches a patient and the caregiver gets paid. In place like Canada, the UK and yes even France, that number is two or maybe three.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  140. Steve - Mich

    I say
    A) it shows that the Canadian NHC system actually pays for procedures to be done. Gives extreme latitude in allowing its citizens to travel to another country (albeit the US -next door) to get procedures done, Makes use of all available resources to save money, time, and greif for the Sake of the patient.
    B) it doesnt make any parallel conclusions about other countries' NHCsystems since we have no reports of British,French,Germans, Italians coming to our country to get things done, nor how many of OUR people go outside our borders for healthcare.

    I dont know how one can validly come to a conclusion about any NHC systems based on a few canadians coming to Mich for procedures vs how many get them done in Canada as well.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  141. mudslingr

    It means we care enough about each other to find ways of helping each other. So what if we come there? You still get paid. Isn't that what your system dwells on. $$$

    August 21, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  142. shannon

    It means that those who are against health reform in the United States will seize on any detail about the Canadian health system that shows it to be imperfect and distort it to achieve their own ends. Of course our system is imperfect. It is also compassionate and effective. The famous waiting periods are, as you point out, for elective procedures. If you need immediate care you get it. I suffered an emergency in the 1990s, and my local hospital saved my life late night. The bill for this service was zero cents.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  143. Richard, Kankakee, IL.

    They at least have basic care we do not, we have a system that is run soely by the corrupt insurance companies, who decide who live and dies. Most of the people you are talking about are crossing the border for elective care, like face lifts, even though some people really need a face lift with as much extra skin that they have on their face they could make a soccer ball out of it!

    I am going to become a resident of Canada, and maintain my U.S. citizenship, that means 6 months a year in Canada and 6 months a year in the U.S., the best of both worlds! 🙂

    August 21, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  144. Rob Riesz

    This is a perfect example of free trade. The government insurance organization uses a mix of government facilities, Canadian and American private medical facilities to deliver a program. United States should be proud that other nations contract services from them, rather than outsourcing to China and the third world.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  145. Cy Montreal

    I do know of Canadians that have gone to the USA from Ontario for quicker treatment, however, do not forget that these services were paid in full by our system.

    Emergencies services are acted upon quickly and ambulance service is excellent and free.

    Americans should decide by themselves if our system is adequate.

    Personally, I am quite content and I am a senior.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  146. john montminy

    a reason for waiting lists in canada is that many canadian doctors are hired away to us hospitals.
    I would submit that all ontario residents qualify for this program ,

    August 21, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  147. Richard in Colorado

    So, just what is the big deal? They may be coming to the US for some things, but they are still covered and it doesn't cost anything to the individual. If a US citizen did the same thing, he or she would be stuck for the total cost. When are the citizens of the US going to realize that a government without a heart is a bad thing?

    August 21, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  148. Argyris

    It sounds to me as if it means that Canadians are getting the procedures they want for free without having to wait. Your piece failed to distinguish between government-run healthcare, like the NHS in Britain, and single-payer. A single-payer system like Canada's means that the government pays for the procedure that the doctor prescribes. For Canadians living near the border, it's entirely predictable and inevitable that some would be able to find the fastest treatment across the border, by chance alone. The Canadian system cares about its patients, and so will not deny payment for its citizens no matter where they get their care.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  149. Walter Brown


    This is nothing but Capitalism at its best. About 90% of the Canadians live within a hundred miles of the boarder. Canada is simply out sourcing some of its healthcare to the U.S., like U.S. manufacturers do to China and Mexico. The article went on to say that the hospitals are not having a problem being paid by the Canadian health ministry for their services.

    Fenton, MI

    August 21, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  150. Kathe

    To me it means nothing. I am so tired of hearing how bad our healthcare over here in Canada is. These numbers about Canadians crossing over to the U.S are inflated. My family has always received quality healthcare whenever we needed it. My dad had a stoke and has had more tests than needed and all have been without a huge wait. The ultrasounds and MRI were all done without any wait and they weren't life threatening. This is an excellent system, one that your government seriously needs to implement because I would live in fear if we had that kind of system over here.
    Kathe, Manitoba, Canada

    August 21, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  151. Justin

    All this does is prove how good the Canadian Healthcare system is. They are making sure patients get the best possible care – even if that means sending them to a US hospital. These patients still won't have to pay a penny out of pocket.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  152. Dale Wiger

    Detroit's population has fallen dramatically in the last couple of decades, leaving the city with a great deal of excess hospital capacity.

    It's far more economical for Canada to utilize this excess capacity than it would be to build more hospitals in Canada.

    It's not like it's a travel ordeal for Canadians to drive over the Ambassador bridge to get to Detroit.

    To fault Canada's health care system for wisely spending their health care dollars is silliness in the extreme.

    You should know better, Jack.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  153. Tom MacDonald

    It's true, sometime we are short on some services in some regions; but, I know of Americans who come here because they have a long wait in their area.
    The real point here is that, the Ontario Government Health Plan will pay for our medical; in Canada, the U.S. or anywhere else we can get the help.
    I have SLE and am a big user of the system which has always done well by me and I saw my nieces life saved by an incredible neurosurgeon in a Toronto hospital. The point is; it was all paid for and we did not have to go bankrupt.
    Tom MacDonald
    Mississauga, Ont

    August 21, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  154. Dean

    Are we confusing the availability of health care facilities/practitioners with health care coverage? If the Canadian health care system is *paying* for the US visits, then their *coverage* is good, regardless of whether the facilities exist in Canada to provide the actual care. So, the question is not whether public health care coverage is good, but whether it will result in a reduction in facilities and practitioners in the U.S.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  155. Valerie

    The point is that the Canadian government PAID for the procedure, which tells us something about the level of government involvement in the health of its citizens. Sounds good to me.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  156. Courtney C.

    It means that the Canadian system of healthcare is missing one key component: a competitive system that promotes advances in medical science. It is unfortunate that Canadian citizens, who are sick or hurting have to wait months and even years to get an MRI or an angioplasty. Although, the healthcare system in America is not perfect, we can't throw the baby out with the bathwater and ignore the problems that complete government ran healthcare would pose for everyday Americans with or without insurance. Let's make healthcare more affordable and promote Health Savings Accounts, not let bureaucracy hold people back from the care they really need.
    Houston, TX

    August 21, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  157. Jean/Florida

    Gernams are paying 35% tax, so why shouldn't everyone of them get coverage. How much tax is the U.S paying? I don't hear the media mention that when they talk about health care in other countries. Also, the U.S Armed services have a very good government run healthcare. what's so wrong about public option?

    August 21, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  158. DocZom

    Jack, it means that the Canadian system for paying for medical care is superior to ours. Can you imagine an American insurance company paying for a procedure in Canada for one of us? The health care debate is really not about who makes the health care decisions, it is about who pays for the care. Only the insurance companies and their paid lackeys want you to think that the debate is about rationing of care.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  159. Sheila Radford

    Well, Jack, it comes down to our population I think. Our entire country has fewer people than California. For the most part our Ontario Hospital Insurance Plan, paid for by employers and provincial taxes, is excellent. But we did pass legislation last summer to protect patients. If facilities are full OHIP will pay for care across the border.
    We are working to solve this but as our population is so spread out in Northern Ontario and so dense in Souther Ontario, we have difficulties in keeping care equal. Regional Disparity is a common theme in our entire country. Ontario has implemented a plan to help solve this...there are two universities in Northern Ontario providing deep discounts on medical school tuition in return for the graduates working for a few years where we need them most – in Northern Ontario. No system is perfect, but while we do not believe in the right for citizens to carry handguns, we do believe that medical care is a right, not a luxury. We all chip in as we do for roads, schools, and infrastructure, even though one might not be using one or more of those services. We are not a socialist country, but we believe in taking care of one another. I could not sleep well otherwise.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  160. Edgar berebi

    Abetted question is why do American have to go to India and Thailand to get medical care they can afford Canada with a small population may need some medical speciality. We need not make this as a judgement on the quality of our health compare to them ...we should look as to why we fail to provide quality care to all our population

    August 21, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  161. Colleen

    I believe that Dateline & 60 Minutes in the past have had programs about Americans going to other counteries for surgeries because they had no health care and it was cheaper to go to India for heart surgery.

    This is an age old debate that will never end. The truth? No one is ever happy with anything.It's easier to whine about it than fix it.

    I have relatives in Canada who love their health care.

    I have relatives here in the US that are on welfare. Free housing, food & guess what? Free health care. Whatever they want, when they want, with whichever Dr & clinic they want.

    BTW-My family has BC/BS through my husbands job. He'd like to retire but we can't afford the premiums. A family plan is over $900 a month.

    Put us all on welfare.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  162. Liz L

    Why would we do what Canada does...we are going to have a BETTER system...with both private and public options so that individuals and families can get the best healthcare they want or that they can afford!

    August 21, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  163. Judy Brenholt

    Why shouldn't the Canadians use the Michigan health facilities. With the unemployment in that area and lack of health insurance, how many U S Citizens can afford to have their health needs taken care of? If not for the Canadian Citizen with insurance these facilities would probably have to close.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  164. MK - Atlanta, GA

    It doesn't mean a whole lot. No matter your country of residence, you'll always have people going to other countries for procedures for a variety of reasons. My mom went back to Korea for hysterectomy (we didn't have insurance here) and I know many other Korean-Americans who go to Korea for medical care. It's cheaper and just as good.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  165. Joseph Kraatz, Oceanside, CA

    Come on Jack! You falling for this BS? Americans want useless tests all the time and want them paid for. How come the life expectancy in Canada is higher than the U.S.? How come infant mortality is Canada is lower than the U.S.? This is all the same substance promoted by the health care industry and insurance companies. The greatest evil in this country is insurance companies. How come they all own the tallest skyscrapers and the best commercial properties. It isn't because of their benevolence.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  166. Robert

    People from the United States are traveling to Canada, India, Mexico, and many other countries for all kinds of health care, including surgery. They do this for a variety of reasons. It doesn't mean health care in the other countries is better or worse.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  167. Theodore R. Wade Jr.

    What is means is the the "health care" in the United States is NOT broken, the profit driven Insurance coverage in the United States is the problem. If the U.S. can reduce the profit margin from "Health Care coverage", then we will be one step closer to success.
    As is the case for much in the U.S. most of our problems are created by greed.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  168. Dennis Harris

    US Healthcare supports our economy. We should export our healthcare to Canada and other countries.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  169. Vannessa

    It means that the US has excess capacity because so many people are cut out of the US health care system. In Canada, everyone can get an MRI or any other service if they need it. That causes longer waits and sometimes the need to cross the border. Also, if there is excess capacity next door, it is sometimes cheaper to "rent" the service than to "buy" it. Let the Henry Ford Medical Center shell out the capital cost for the MRI.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  170. Beeko (Miami)

    It puzzles me as to how the Media takes mere anamolies and turns them into generalizations. Canadians are NOT leaving Canada in droves to get Healthcare in the US. I personally have tons and tons of relatives in Canada. Many have had major surgeries etc and require ongoing medical attention and NONE have ever crossed the border for care in the US. They tell me that they LOVE their Canadian Healthcare system. Please stop feeding into these falsehoods Jack, I know you know better than that man!

    August 21, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  171. Matt T - Canada

    Generally, there would be two reasons.

    First, somone with money and an elective, non life threating illness doesnt want to wait at the bottom of the triage list. Annoying to have to wait, but again, if you cant afford to pay to "jump the queue" (as its often referred to here), then it doesnt really matter.

    Second, provinces will sometimes outsource care in cases where their are a lack of facilities, or crowding. For example, a few years ago in Alberta, there was a shortage of pre-natal care – so the province paid to send some patients to North Dakota, I believe. Crowding is not overly common or chronic, but in cases where there has been lack of capital investment, or in certain remote areas, patients will be sent to the USA.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  172. Richard - Oregon

    People always groan about higher taxes, 'Oh no we have to pay more in taxes, woe is us!'

    If you look at the average individual premiums for Americans and span that over 12 months and compare the increase in taxes – i'm sure you'd be surprised on how much less you'll actually be paying.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  173. Terry Marshall

    As a Canadian, I am aware of those people who insist upon their medical care demands to be met pronto, even though its not a pronto situation. There are waits for MRIs, even a cutting back of the numbers per year by certain health boards to meet budget shortfalls.
    Medical cases are prioritized when the "machine" services are not available. We have a technological hardware shortage but not a medical shortage – just small numbers of people who have trouble waiting their turn.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:18 pm |

    One does have to remember that each Province of Canada has a health system. Ontario seems to have real problems but Saskatchewan and other western provinces seem to be doing well. Perhaps this is mainly an Ontario problem?

    August 21, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  175. alyce

    Jack, I am getting tired of everyone knocking Canadian healthcare! It works both ways, the border hospitals in Ontario/Michigan have agreements that if they are full or short of beds, and the other has space, they will accept each others patients! Americans come across to Canada as well! Canadians don't go bankrupt, and we don't die if we dont have good coverage. Please quit picking on these systems, because we all have it good, ask any American who lives in a country that has Universal healthcare!

    August 21, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  176. jon in portland, or

    sounds like ontario is taking advantage of the areas hospitals, and keeping their cost down, seems smart to me.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  177. Doug in Montana

    It says space isn't the last frontier. So grow a pair.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  178. John - Vancouver

    I'm an American who has lived in Canada for the past 12 years. I love it here but if I were to become seriously ill, my preference would be to live in the US. We do have a "safety net" here so everyone has coverage but we have stretched the system to the limits. As others have pointed out, the waits are terrible sometimes. My daughter had to wait 6 months to have her tonsils removed. A co-worker had to have knee surgery and waited over a year for the surgery. He spent the year on drugs and in rehab to handle the pain until the surgery date came. We hear stories about people in ERs waiting 20 hours to have broken bones mended. Obama is NOT proposing the same system for the US. A single payer, government run system cannot effectively work. A hybrid system that encourages competition but does not allow insurance companies to take advantage of the government (Medicare, etc) may be the ticket. But I would caution against looking north for the answers!

    August 21, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  179. Steve

    I'm in Ontario and I think this is actually a positive display from the Ministry and a sign that a single payer system cares enough to be flexible in order to bring timely care to patients. It was done because there were too many waiting patients, but not enough to make it worth expanding permanently. This isn't necessity, it's convenience.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  180. Bob Mckinnon

    Jack, chances are those doctors in Detroit performing the procedure are actually Canadians who went there to make more money. Anyway, rich provinces like Ontario, Quebec, Alberta, and BC can afford to send their patients south but if you live in Nova Scotia you have to tough it out, no matter how long it takes.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  181. Katie

    Having family in rural both North Dakota and Manitoba, I don't think it is fair to compare access to health care in rural parts of Canada to what you might be able to get here in the US. If the next biggest city is over the border, it makes sense to go there.

    When my aunt had cancer, she had to drive six hours from western North Dakota to Billings, MT for her chemo treatments. Every time my family has a major medical problem, it's a six hour drive to Billings. And, my grandparents often went to Canada for their care because it was significantly cheaper.

    Furthermore, even in urban parts of America we often have long wait times. I had to wait six months to so a specialist even after I had been having serious complications for four months. See a dermatologist takes forever too.

    So, its apples and oranges. We should compare care in Toronto and Vancouver to Manhattan and LA.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  182. Floyd Phillips-Tampa

    Jack, I think there should be no problem with Canadians coming over they are our neighobors and like any good neighobors you help each out when times are tough. Its not like they are asking for free medical services from us...like other countries that milk the system.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  183. Anthony

    Interesting question but this is a result of our borders blending more and more. As you have said, if the procedure is an emergency, then the Canadian government will take care of it. However, our country has the best health care services (different from the term "health care system") and the fact remains that the Canadians are getting their cake and eating it too. No out of pocket cost but get the care everyone here with private insurance can get. Why shouldn't we have that same opportunity?
    -New Jersey

    August 21, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  184. Roland-St.George,UT

    Jack, a better question is: what does it mean when we have the best quality health care in the world and so many of our own people lack access to it?

    August 21, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  185. Mac Station

    Hey Jack,

    Next time you go to visit your doctor ask him if he is from Canada. Chances are if "he" isn't he know many colleagues that are. Here, that's why Canadians are crossing border to get health care: I graduated with 15 other physicians from McGill University (Montreal) and all of us were hired by american hospitals right out of school.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  186. Nelson

    Jack, It simply means that sensible people are using resources effectively. Those that make much about such practices do not understand effective management practices that some in our government and the Canadian government are capable of doing. Its called getting the biggest bang for the tax dollar not. I don't understand how this is an issue with some.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  187. DD from CA

    It means we must have a darn good program right now.......American doctors and hospitals not only care of Americans, but Mexicans and as you mentioned, Canadians as well!

    August 21, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  188. Charlize O.

    It simply means the Canadian Government IS ACTUALLY PROVIDING THE NEEDED HEALTH CARE FOR ITS CITIZENS, no matter if they get it in their country or abroad. If pres. Obama is offering the same thing, in his reform proposal, I'm all for it!

    Lawrence GA

    August 21, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  189. Steven

    (I have practiced as a family physician over a period of 25 years in both countries. )

    It means that both countries are suffering from epidemics of nutrition related diseases which no measure of medical care can manage. Unless there is some alteration of cultural dietary patterns the epidemic will continue. The reason France has health care costs under better control is that the culture promotes healthier behavior.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  190. Dan Rabkin

    Having grown up in Windsor, ON (the border city to Detroit), I can honestly say that the only reason my father is alive today is the American health care system. My father has had numerous bouts with cancer and the availability, access, and quality of the care he received in the US was exponentially better than what Canada had to offer: overcrowded hospital beds, months-long waits for tests/surgery, etc.

    My parents live in Canada, but my mother works in a hospital in Detroit. The only reason she hasn't retired yet is that we all believe that if she quits her job, and loses access to her US health insurance, my father won't make it without access to the American health care system.

    Dan Rabkin
    Toronto, ON

    August 21, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  191. Carole Lowes-Kotiesen

    I'll pull a Barney Frank. What does it mean that Americans cross the border by the thousands to purchase drugs and order drugs on the internet from Canada? What does it mean that Americans cross the border for medical procedures often encouraged by their insurers?

    August 21, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  192. Osman Mourad


    The fact that Canadains sometimes cross the border is a trestament to our great health care. In our syste Jack, the doctors make decisions not some insurance company executive. and I am greatful for that. In Nov. of last year I had a heart attacks and the doctors felt I needed adn bypass surgery immediately. The hospital I was in did not have the facilities to do that operation and I live across the borders from Detroit. The hospital contacted all the hospital within 200 miles of my city and inquired as to how soon they can perform the procedure and yes Jack that included hospitals out of the country (Michigan) because the doctor cared and our systm does not have a burocrat running it and I got my by pass doen within 12 hours

    August 21, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  193. Carol from Santa Barbara

    Sounds like a good deal for the economy. Canadians receiving health care here and paid in full to the US by Canada. Do we overcharge the Canadians like we do US Citizens?

    August 21, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  194. Neil

    Jack, I love traveling to America on a frequent bases, but not for health care. I don't understand how Canadians can complain about the long wait – most cases are given a priority and based on that level, tests and procedures are preformed. I almost lost my life three years ago and I was sent to life saving surgery directly from the CAT. If Canadians don't like our health care, the boarder is almost always less then a few hours way from most Canadian cities – move to America – it's obvious they don't want the system we are lucky to have here. I trust and love my health care system (and I use it, unfortunately, extremely frequently).

    Neil (Guelph, ON – G-W-ELF)

    August 21, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  195. jimbo

    Anybody ever wonder what the tax rate is in Canada? If the Canadian system works so good, how come they have to come to the US? Could it be there is not enough Doctors or something? Does the system reimburse them for travel and lodging?

    August 21, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  196. amanda

    Also-some context for Americans-Great britain brought in universal health care in 1947.Canada in 1966.The US is 50 yrs behind the rest of the world.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  197. 30

    Why do people insist upon comparing our system to Canada's? The U.S. is ranked #37 by the WHO...Canada is only # 30. Why would we say we can't do national healthcare because Canada has national healthcare and it's no good. Is it possible it's the WAY they do it that's no good? If we're going to compare ourselves to someone, let's compare ourselves to #1 and see if we can beat it. Let's aim a little higher than what Canada has managed to achieve.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  198. Paul B

    For the geographically challenged, Windsor is Detroit's next door neighbor. it's not like Canada is asking the one gentlemen to ride a mule over the mountains to some third world country for medical help.

    Sounds like the Canadian government is treating this like business matter to me. If it's more economical, why not use services available elsewhere. Are the providers in Detroit complaining about the extra business.

    Maybe the US goverment can learn from this ...although I doubt.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  199. Robert Hart

    As a Canadian, if there was some reason I would not live in America, it would be because of your health care. I know: (a)what is covered and what is not, (b) I am covered regardless of my health conditions, and, (c) there is no one with a credit card machine meeting me at the ambulance receiving area. Thank you for advising it is ELECTIVE procedures that is our problem, not emergency procedures.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  200. Samoth

    Jack, why don't you talk about the hundreds of Americans that go to China for their health care. Perhaps theirs is better than ours. This type of comparison is simplistic and really problematic. It is further proof of the unfortunately high level of irresponsible "journalism" that exists in our fair country.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  201. Flyingwolf, Manchester NH

    What does it mean if Canadians are crossing the border to get tests or procedures that aren't readily available in Canada. If their government is still paying for it, it doesn't mean much more than someone traveling from New Hampshire to Boston to get care that isn't available in our state but is still covered by their plan. It just shows you how far the Republicans will go to twist facts to their advantage.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  202. Joel - Janesville WI

    It means that they are getting all the quality healthcare they need fully covered, while the citizens of the city state and country where it is being dispensed are not. Why not I guess it would be to much socialism for the citizens of the US to bear. We would just become to unhappy and miserable if we all got the same quality healthcare as these Canadian citizens.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  203. Anne from Maine

    Canadians come into Maine for health care as well, and not just the wealthy, as the Canadian system sometimes covers the care. This is widely known in Maine. Elective surgery can include knee or hip replacements, surgery for back pain.... There are also increasing numbers of Canadian doctors in Maine hospitals. Evidently as problem-ridden as our system is, it is better in some ways than the Canadian system.

    As for Europe's systems, elective care, including mammograms, can involve long waits in some countries. Breast cancer surgery following a biopsy can also involve months of wait time for certain classes of cancer. It doesn't require much research to find this out - it is disturbing to me that it has taken so long for this information to become part an informed discussion in the US.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  204. Martha Grisell

    The government should regulate the insurance companies and require each of them to cover a percentage each ,of those legal residents in America who can not afford insurance. The Government
    could assist low income persons by a tax credit to help offset the cost of the insurance premiums.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  205. calvin

    we need a change in our heath care. however i still do not like a goverment run plan certainly our bright thinker in washington d c can come up with a plan. lol if the goverment would do one thing at a time and stop add all the cheerys to the bill it could be done.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  206. pdavis

    Here on the Texas/Mexico border we cross into Mexico to see the doctor and get medication. It is cheaper and there is no appointment needed. The rich Mexicans cross to the US for medical care...go figure.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  207. Nathan Thomas

    Jack, you just said it. The problem is not with the Canadian health care system. It is with the demand. The Canadian government is not willing to create more facility, so they do the next best thing: send their citizens to the US for care and they pay for it. In the US, we would ensure that the facilities are created if the system works oh so well. Of course it would. Let the GAO calculate the impact if we don't fix the health care system NOW.

    Hartford, CT

    August 21, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  208. Jason Fort Worth, TX

    It means nothing for Americans since we are not getting a Canadian style health care plan. We know that there health care system has flaws, but Imagine if that patient from Canada had to pay for that $30,000 plus out of pocket? His country cared enough to get him that treatment he needed, even if they had to send him to another country all expenses paid. What does it say for our country to allow fellow Americans to go broke or go without care, for the sake of big insurance companies to make a profit?

    August 21, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  209. Judith

    It means that the Canadian government is willing to pay whatever to make sure its beneficiaries get the health care they need. What difference does it make that it provided in Canada or the US?

    August 21, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  210. Eric


    It is a window into our future if Obamacare passes. Rationing is the natural consequence of insuring everyone. If we dump 50 million more people on our system and we don't increase the number of doctors we will have rationing. The question is where will we go if we can't get the care we need when we need it.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  211. Richard Menard

    Wow, all these comment's... Why don't you mention the research tharts being done in Canada...Maybe show a map and mention the population of Canada. Also that alot of our health care perfesionals arwe offered jobs in the U.S. Doctors live in Windsor and work in Detroit because the money is alot better due to the cost (what people pay) over there. Nurses from all along the board work in the U.S. and are offered 6 month term contracts in the U.S. Our goverenment picks up the tab fine it comes out of our taxes and we do pay high taxes but see what we get for it ? Health care payed for in your country !

    August 21, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  212. Paul

    Almost everyone on here is a naive, socialist, liberal that disregards facts, common sense, intelligence, etc...Not that this will get posted, but you are all smoking crack!

    August 21, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  213. Dave in PA

    If Michael Vujovich were an American he would have died, or gone bankrupt. The Canadian system is not perfect but it is still better than the death panels insurance companies we have here. At lest they paid for his care in full.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  214. John Murphy

    It means that crossing the bridge to Detroit from Windsor may be cost effective , just as I cross the bridge from Dartmouth to Halifax (by Metro Transit) to see my surgeon. First of all, Ontario is a special case. Southern Ontario is a US wannabe. Each province administers it's health care system, and my experience (BTW I lived in the US for seven years) is that I far prefer the Canadian system in the three provinces in which I have lived.

    I have never, NEVER had an appreciable waiting time in Canada, for both serious and elective procedures. On the contrary, my experience is that health care is heavily rationed in the US by health insurance companies.

    When I looked for the quality of care I had become used to in Canada when I was in the US, I was denied by the insurance company at every turn. Americans must realize that their insurance companies heavily ration care.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  215. A.M.

    It means the Canadian system doesn't function efficiently enough. That should come as no surprise to anyone, after all it is government run.The sad part is the government could care less, they just raise taxes on Canadians who really have no choice but to pay.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  216. Mark

    As an American living in Canada, I can tell you that OHIP does send people to the US for health care, but seeing how canada balances its budgets and controls spending, I can tell you that its better than the spend and spend some more, and hope the chinese buy our debt policies that the US engages in. It may not be a perfect system in canada, but at least everyone is covered and you don't have to worry about going bankrupt if you get sick.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  217. Paul Bellwood

    Sounds like a good pro-active policy by Canada to address a medical shortage in Canada. Good for Canada!

    August 21, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  218. Jasmine in Germany

    Considering the size and population of Canada, it means the system is working well. No system is perfect, keep in mind the US system is ranked poorly among the industrialized nations. I live in both the US and Germany – believe me, the German system is superior to that of the US'. It's time for health system improvement in the US, not fear spreading by politicians and lobbyists.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  219. Jeffrey Katz

    I am a dual-citizen of Canada / U.S. Although I was born and primarily raised here in the U.S., I have plenty of family there in Canada who have had very serious medical issues. Although I realize that you stated the healthcare they are coming to the U.S. for is for elective procedures, the treatment my family members have had to have urgently addressed, were addressed urgently there. Tests were ordered and performed quickly and accurately there, the procedures that were needed were ordered and performed quickly and my family members have all walked out of the hospitals that they were - as opposed to being carried out.

    The system there works. It is flawed, but it works. Our system too is flawed as we all know. Although Canadians have to wait for elective procedures, at least they have the option to have those procedures done. Here in the U.S. it's all about whether you have the money for those procedures, or the "top-notch" healthcare plans to cover them.

    It is getting harder and harder for businesses to provide healthcare at a reasonable expense for their employees (even when the expense is shared between the employer and employee). And prices for personal healthcare insurance, many times, are prohibitive. When will the endless hikes in insurance premiums make it impossible for the average American to afford basic coverage? I suspect the day for that is coming soon. Something has got to give - sometime soon.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  220. Matt

    It means Canada's health care system is flawed. Long waiting lines, rationed health care, too few doctors/nurses for everyone... these are just a few symptoms of nation health care. Look at ALL national health care systems in different countries, all suffer from these ailments. Why do we suppose America will be any different? You want real solutions?

    -Cut middle class taxes
    -Tort Reform for ludicrous malpractice lawsuits... this allows doctors to forgo ridiculous insurance payments to cover lawsuits... hence driving down prices
    -Allow companies to compete across state lines. More competition = lower prices, better quality care
    -create some type of safety net for the poor

    August 21, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  221. Pat

    It means that hospitals near the border are soliciting the Canadian government to send patients here in order to keep the Detroit hospitals open. They need paying patients becauswe there are not enough patients in the US that can afford health care here, or whos insurance companies will authorize treatments.

    I had emergency care at a modern clininc in Ecuador including and EKG, lung scans and brething therapy. I was treated by three specialits. With four prescriptions, my total bill was $125. My teracher who was with me was outraged that the bill was so high.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  222. George Hucker

    Who are all of these people crossing the border to get health care? I am 65 year old and have lived in Quebec, Ontario, Saskatchewan and Alberta and have never met anyone who has crossed the border to get Americann health care. Many stories of Americans who have had HMO's and have still lost everything because of a family illness or emergency. I worked for a US based union that provided health care to their employees at a $1000.00 per month premiums per emplolyee for the US employees and $69.00 for their Canadian employees. Give me my imperfect system to the "BEST HEALTH IN THE WORLD".

    August 21, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  223. Scott W

    Look, if you guys want to have debate...then do it. I am happy to watch from the comfortable sidelines here in Canada.
    I wish that this entirely American lobbyist-driven debate could be contained to your own boarders. Demonizing the rest of the civized world in the name of justifying your particular method of healthcare delivery is exhausting and unproductive. We're not changing anything...So stop phrasing the argument as though it were other nations that needed new insight.
    As to your question and the case of Candains travelling to America for elective procedures, I could equally ask what Canadians ought to think about the plethora of Americans that enter Canada for routine health care.

    Personally, I think that any under insured American wishing to come to Canada to see a doctor, deliver a baby or purchase cheaper prescription drugs will be welcomed with open arms.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  224. sunny (toronto)

    Jack , does it really matter if canadians cross the border for treatment? as long as i receive the treatment i need and is paid in full by the canadian government then i have nothing against that. This is as you said "elective procedure" now if it was any other clinical ailment then you would be looked at right away. not many citizens of canada are ill. we canadians are very health people. if you look at the health stats then you can see that canadians are more health then americans. all this means is time. if the patient cant wait until the surgery then by all means, go across the border. if the patient cant receive treatment then he will have to wait, but this does not mean that the health authorities will let you die. that does not happen here jack. no matter what you will get the treatment. there are enough hospitals around here, i got 5 in a 40 kilometer radious of my house. now the patient you mentioned lives in windsor where the auto industry has been hit hard thus most of the doctors or nurses have left resulting in longer waiting times. well jack its the economy, not the health care system.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  225. Steve

    Last year over 150,000 americans left the US for operations and health care in foreign countries. Whole companies are now organizing these "health vacations" to enjoy a trip and get surgery. All because they can't afford to get the procedure done in the US

    Seems this gets little press......

    August 21, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  226. Larry Nearing

    4 years ago I had successful radiation and surgery for colon cancer and it didn't cost me a cent. My company supplemental plan paid afew thousand dollars for my semi-private room, but that would have been free too if I had asked for a ward and the hospital had to put me in a semi-private room, since they have very few wards. I can go to any hospital in Ontario and any doctor in Ontario. What's more, I'm covered in any other province too, although I would likely have to pay and then be reimbursed. We feel sorry for Americans.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  227. A. Wright

    The Canadian healthcare system is cherished by Canadians. Even right-wing governments fear to touch it when elected. The problem with some wait times for certain procedures is that the system was gutted in the name of deficit reduction in the 1990's and hasn't recovered. You can't starve a system and expect it to work at optimal efficiency.

    That said... what about Americans who are denied coverage or can't afford certain procedures coming into Canada to get healthcare? That happens more than is acknowleged.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  228. Mike Hardy

    As a Canadian who lives on the Michigan /Ontario border it is not uncommon for an Ontario citizen to go Detroit or even Cleveland for certain medical needs and or operations with OHIPS permission. Just note that the bill is covered for the medical services. The system uses all available options to care for the needs of the ill. thanks Mike Hardy

    August 21, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  229. Jim Anderson

    What is CNN waiting for? I've been waiting for CNN to do a full investigative report on the complete and true health care reform package. If Walter Conkite was alive, that is what he would be doing. We, the public need an unbIased report of the most important proposal of our time. And these reports should be updated daily. We don't have to reinvent lthe wheel. This country should be copying the best of what's out there in other parts of the world. All we are getting now is misinformation from the news media. When a statement is wrong, it should be exposed for what it is, immediately.
    New Jersey

    August 21, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  230. Michele from Michigan

    If they are smart, the Canadiens will bring prescription drugs with them to sell to US citizens. People from Michigan go to Canada to buy their prescription drugs to save money.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  231. Linda in AZ

    No matter what issue you put forth, there will be positive and negative examples. We're still way behind many developed countries in the way we do (or don't) provide health care for our citizens. My friend's Canadian aunt broke her ankle while boarding a cruise ship in Florida. The Canadian health care system flew her home, took care of her (hospital included), and paid the travel insurance.

    What about all the Americans who travel overseas for care ('medical tourism'?).

    August 21, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  232. Bill

    Once and for all: Socialized Medicine = MEDICARE.

    Should we shut down Medicare because some of you don't like "socialized medicine"? Please...

    Canadians come here to fill the voids in their health care system. Their system isn't perfect either. Maybe we can combine the two programs and come up with a decent plan? Would that involve MORE politicians?

    August 21, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  233. Thanatos

    Sure, Jack, another one of your "one-direction" only questions. Here's our case: my 30 year old son had a hernia and when we looked everywhere, it turned out that Canada had the best treatment. Won't bother you with many details, but the surgery was totally state-of-the art, very inexpensive, guaranteed, and they paid some of his transportation charges. Oh, and they found 3 hernias, and fixed them all at the same price. Oh, and they guaranteed the results. 10 years later, all is well. Of course we should have widespread cross-border agreements with Canada. Might help all of us. And our health care reform.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  234. Bud - Evansville IN.

    It means that money talks for the rich and we will arrange our schedule and push our people back so the most profitable event can take place, its called Capitalism.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  235. Sue ofMichigan

    Health care, nothing! Canada has been dumping their garbage here for more than 10 years. They feel free to close their dumps and just bring it here. I have seen the double trucks come into Flint myself.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  236. Robert D Reid

    Canadians crossing the border , a few of them , to get some procedure done indicates the failure of a past Ontario conservative government who imported a Newt Gingrich associate as a campaign adviser. He recommmended a slash and burn policy closing thousands of hosputal beds and firing thousnds of nurses. It has taken years to recover from this atrocity .
    Amis all the lies and distortions being peddled there by the Republicans and there dupes ithe truth is that health care in Canada is the constitutional responsibility of the Provincail Governments not the federal government which provides some financial support and basic criteria by agreement among the Provinces.
    I can vouch for the fact that the system is basically sound , swift in emergencies and loved by most Canadians. The only problem is the occasional backward political party who tinkers with it in some of the ten provinces

    August 21, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  237. Jake - San Diego

    It means that a country with 1/10th the population cannot of the US cannot provide adequate care for its citizens. With an example like that I am amazed anyone in this country thinks this is what we should model our system on. Canada doesnt want to provide the infrastructure so they send people to the states to get it. Infrastructure and doctors cost money and that is what US citizens dont realize, Insurance companies are not the reason why healthcare costs what it does here. I would love to see the reaction of the supporters being told to head to another country to get there care because it is not cost effective for us to build another clinic or hospital.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  238. Sal Madonia

    Your info is wrong! If you live in Canada and elect to go to the USA for medical procedure, you will not be reimbursed by the Canadian Government for the full amount you paid in the US. You will only be reimbursed the amount the Canadian Government would normally pay doctors or hospitals in Canada for that same procedure. Which is considerably less than you pay the US. I know for sure I have done it.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  239. Phil

    Waiting rooms in third world hospitals are full of Americans who cannot get health care at home. And the US government does not pay the bill. Maybe it's time to stop finding fault with foreign countries like Australia, Canada etc. and instead attempt to learn from them.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  240. Phil from Montreal, Québec

    I had a testicular cancer at the age of 24 and was diagnosed in a hospital in Montreal. Within 24 hours I was transfered to the Montreal General Hospital and was operated by the same doctors as those who take care of the Montreal Canadiens Hockey Team.
    In total I received a total of 11 operations within 2 years and I can honestly say that I could not have received better care from the medical team, the Tumor Board and the countless nurses that took care of me.
    The overall cost of my operations and medical care was in the millions of dollars; The nurses were even joking around with me and were calling me the 6 millions dollars Man.
    Had I lived in the USA, my family would never have been able to pay for my medical expenses... and without a doubt, I would be dead today!!
    Its true that in Canada you may have to wait 6 hours in the Emergency room at the Hospital but once we receive the medical attention we need, its the best in the world..and above all its free!

    August 21, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  241. John Zarakol

    Hi Jack,
    I am a Canadian from Toronto and ardent follower of the Situation Room, and your comments. Few years ago after a check up with my Cardiologist (free of charge), he though I probably need an angioplasty. With in a week time I went through that in one of the best hospitals in the city, and got a stent placed (free of charge). I didn't see any bills or forms, etc. I had even no idea how much it costs until I heard it today in your comment (although maybe that is the cost in the US).
    We Canadians are very happy with our system, and contrary to what Americans think, we have all the options available to us.
    Best Regards

    August 21, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  242. Paul


    You need to come to Texas where there is steady line of Americans going to Mexico for healthcare. When I needed surgery, I went to the UK for it. The cost of the surgery, along with a week of touring London, was still only 1\8th the cost of the surgery here in the US. The Brit's gave me fantastic care for a fantastic price! BTW, I work in health care!

    August 21, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  243. Maaku Adi

    The Canadians come to America to get health care which is paid for, while we in America cannot afford to pay for health care here in our own back-yard; What a shame.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  244. Jack Dever

    I wonder how much my insurance company would pay for the same procedure. Also, would the hospital charge my insurance company the same $38,000? If I did not have a job and needed angioplasty, would the hospital even admit me?

    August 21, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  245. Lyle McBee

    All this talk about Canadians crossing in the U.S. for medical care. How about the thousands of Americans who travel to Thailand and India for medical procedures they cannot afford in their own country? Nobody seems to be aware of this or they dont want those favoring a public health system to use this argument. Let s be honest and present the whole story.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  246. Harry from Ontario Canada

    Im one of those canadian who are have surgery in the States, the wait time here for the same surgery is 1-3 years as to waiting about 3-6 months in the states and yes OHIP is paying for my surgery, Im glad we can have the treatment so fast.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  247. Gina

    Why do Canadians have longer life expectancy and lower infant mortality? Better health care for more people. Why don't Americans know this type of fact? Press never seems to cover the facts.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  248. D in TX

    What does it says when us citizens go to EU & India for medical treatments

    August 21, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  249. mike

    the republicans and the blue dogs like to feed the lies that canadians are rushing to the states for health care procedures. I have lived in five provinces in canada and do not know anyone seeks medical care in the usa. granted our system is not perfect , but i know of no canadian who would trade places with the for profit run scam that takes place south of the border. I would gladly pay an extra five hundred dollars a year in taxes to pay for single payer than to pay ten grand to pay for private insurance.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  250. Ed New Mexico

    Jack, you said the key words "the goverment pays for it". I'll cross the border if our goverment will pay for it. Crossing the border is a hell of a lot easier than filing bankruptcy and losing my home in the US of A. Maybe mexico should stsrt paying some of the bills over on this side

    August 21, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  251. Robin Pitsiladis

    As a Canadian, Iwould not want to do without Medicare. My own experiences have been more positive than negative. My father had a valve replacement with little wait. The hospital even hired a private caretaker for him while he was recovering in the hospital. My Mother who suffered from several ailments, had all the access possible to health care, I myself have medical problems and without Medicare, as currently unemployed, I would not have access to the care and medications I require. I pay as little as $ 30 per month for more than $ 300 worth of meds. It would higher if generics weren't more easily obtained in Quebec. I have been taken care of from birth and will be until my death. Waits for elective surgeries are of no inconvenience to anyone. ÙThe person who had angioplasti in the US shows how the Canadian system will deal with emergencies even if there is a wait list in Canada. It is not a perfect system but it works for the most of us. I feel that Canadian health care is getting a bum wrap by the US media. CNN should do an objective investigation on our health care system

    August 21, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  252. ted

    Well, Jack..it means that the the system is not perfect. But, the cost was covered and when necessary the place for treatment doesnt really matter does it. I als recall many Americans coming this way for affordable drugs. medicre your way isnt perfect either.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  253. Daryl Hazlehurst

    Dear Sir
    First as a Canadian I would like to say we have a lot of pride in our system of health care. Though indeed it does have it's problems one of which is wait times for some medical procedures. But I have to say when our system does cut deals with American Hospitals it shows that the system is adaptable and more importantly the family that's sent down to the American Hospital still incurrs no costs for the medical procedure. Thats paid out of general tax revenue, so the example you used of the $38.000.00 would mean the family wouldn't be broken by a medical bill. That's the glory of our system for all it's worts a family won't be put in the poor house because we have healthcare for all Canadians. Thanks

    August 21, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  254. Paul Swan, London Ontario

    I have lived in Ontario, Canada for over 58 years. Have used our medical facilities countless times. Have gone to the hospital for emergencies and have had the same doctor for over 30 years. I am a professional, post graduate education and knows enough about the system to made an educated opinion. I have never had to pay a red cent to get amazing medical care. When I have been in the emergency dept. I have never waited anymore than 2 hours and the average has been 20 minutes. When I call my doctor I usually see him in 24-48 hours at no cost to me. If I need a specialist's attention (twice now) I have not had to wait anymore than 2 weeks. If I need an X-ray (4 times in 10 years) I can get it the same day at no cost. We have great health care here in Ontario. Are there problems with it..I guess but I have not seen anything to complain about and I have many, many friends and family that would agree with me. So, harp on all you want about Canadian medical care..I am a true believer and more than happy to be living north of the 48.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  255. Judy, Earth

    It means Canadians can get $38,000 medical procedures at NO COST to them as an individual – pushing them into bankrurtcy and the loss of their home.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  256. Peter from Montreal

    Crossing the border for quicker service, nothing more nothing less. At least that man got the service he needed (on the states dime). How many un-insured Americans can say the same?

    40-50 million people without healthcare?! (Canada's population is ~33 million). America should be ashamed!

    United Nations ranks US health care 50th (behind Cuba)

    I'll take my good old Canadian system any day and twice on Sunday's thank you.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  257. rick greentown, IN

    the catch to this is their health system paid for it. They didn't refuse them treatment

    August 21, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  258. Richard, Kankakee, IL.

    Hey, are you trying to get U.S. employers to either send our jobs to Canada, or are you trying to have Canada send it workers here and take over our jobs, employers then would not have to provide any healthcare at all. Is that really what you want to happen?

    August 21, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  259. Nick

    The fact that Canadian Health care plan can afford to pay US institutions to perform procedures for them shows that their plan is working. They have made the choice not to not to spend extra money to provide these services in Canada when it is conveniently available in the USA.

    The United States need to have a health care plan that can truly provide health care to its residents. The United States has the resources to afford such a plan. It is a shame that a free country like the USA uses its freedom to impede progress towards affordable health care for all.

    Nick Cox
    Brooklyn, NY

    August 21, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  260. Gilles Petit

    Hello Jack: Canadians are watching the current U.S. Health Care debate in total disbelief. The vast majority of Canadians are very proud and satisfied with our health care system. Yes, there are waiting lists for certain elective procedures, but Canadians get there health care issues dealt with regardless of patient's income or pre-existing conditions. Canadian's believe that quality health care for all citizens is a right, not a priviliege, and we strive to give the best health care services at the most reasonable cost. Canadian citizens do not go bankrupt for health reasons, and we do not lose coverage because of employment status. Health care for a civilized country should be about humanity, not, profit. Good luck to the U.S. in trying to achieve the former.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  261. William B.

    It's geography, Jack. The nearest major city with medical facilities on par with Detroit's is probably Toronto, a four hour drive from Windsor. Detroit is 10 minutes away across a bridge. If medical experts determine it's better and cheaper to send patients to Detroit at certain times for certain procedures, so be it. It's called common sense Jack, something the US health care system seems woefully short of.

    If you look at the big picture, what is really amazing is how *few* Canadians go to the US for medical care, not how many. I am almost 50 years old and I can't say I ever personally met one.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  262. J - Vancouver BC

    As you said Jack
    The Bill was PAID IN FULL by the Ministry of Health not from their citizen pockets.

    Do you know any US Private insurance that is willing to do the same to for the US Citizen?

    August 21, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  263. Kathy

    I think the point here is that the health plan in Canada PAYS for the Canadians to come here for care. No questions asked.

    I have relatives in Canada. I know the kind of care they get. I would trade the premiums I pay every month in taxes for that kind of care, not having to worry about whether the insurance company is going to deny the care, tests or prescriptions that my doctor has ordered.

    Anyone who thinks that health care rationing is going to start with a public option should have to deal with the insurance companies now. It's a paperwork nightmare and very little gets covered. There is rationing happening now and it's not with Medicare.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  264. rose marie branson

    "I'm an American citizen, grew up in a Republican household, married a Canadian, and have lived half of my life in Canada . I've worked, had children, been sick, paid taxes, and had employer health plans in both countries. As a news junkie, I've been following the negative comments on the Canadian health care system for years from "spokesmen" who don't know what they are talking about. Possibly from the same people who think we ski in July, or that we all speak French. They find out-of-context stories and use the scare word... socialism. I have always had excellent, timely, never-been-denied health care in Canada from MRI's, specialists, hospital care, to my children's vaccinations, etc. Do I pay more in taxes for this health system? Probably. Do I care? No, because it has always there. Is it perfect? Probably not. Are there cases where it hasn't worked for some patients? Probably, but is that any different than in the U.S? I've heard way more horror stories from the States than Canada . And if I have to make a choice between having to "negotiate" with the insurance companies in the U.S. about doctor choice, and what they will cover, I have to give the nod to Canada anytime. And by the way, it's said doctors can make more money in the States. That may be true, but in Canada they still live pretty well. I guess it's how much they feel is enough."

    August 21, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  265. Rhea (Halifax, Nova Scotia)

    I guess wait times are what happens when everyone gets equal access to health care... I'd be curious to know what the wait times are for the uninsured down there. And if Americans think their insurance companies don't ration care, they are in serious denial. I'm proud of our system, but am fully aware that it isn't perfect. We need to figure out how to get Dr's, surgeans and specialists to stay local so their services can be offered. We also need to be better about prevention so we don't require so much from our system. That's our health care reform and it isn't easy.. yours won't be either.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  266. Ewan Thomson

    I lived in a small city of 75,000 people in Ontario Canada and there was a lack of doctors at the local hospital; only 5 to be exact. Many of the doctors opted to open up their own offices and become family doctors because it’s easier to make money that way.

    My family doctor used to call me for "check ups" when I didn't visit him for over 5 years and performed tests that we all knew were not necessary just in order to get a few extra bucks from the Government.

    I hope this will not become the case in the United States once Health Care reform is done.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  267. Miramar, FL

    well, Canada is only patching what's probably the only weakness of the Canadian's health care system, now we can either lean on that as proof that the U.S health care system is any better or we can find ways (like they did) to consider the Canadian ways of making it work. This current health care system we have has got to go.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  268. Frank Edgley

    It means that Canadian health care works. The example you stated shows that the "insurance" covered the individual who went to a Michigan hospital-no out of pocket expenses. There are areas in the US that do not have adequate family doctors as well. The same is true in Canada in certain areas of expertise.
    What your sources don't mention is that many US residents, living in border areas travel to Canada to see primary care doctors. Even paying out of pocket ($45 per visit) it is cheaper than the same care in the US.
    Years back the were so many US residents coming to Ontario with "borrowed" Ontario health cards, Ontario had to reissue many cards, this time with photos on them. There were also so many cards obtained by US citizens that there were more cards than Ontario residents. This problem was solved by photos and stricter issuing standards. It seems that Canadian Health Care IS popular with many US residents -those of the 47 million your country has chosen to leave out of the diminishing number of insured.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  269. Linus

    As a Canadian living in the US it does make sense. We're a small population that's spread out quite extensively. And there is only so much that can be funded with public funds. That's a reality. The fact that it's still honored (that is, paid for by the gov't) when seeking treatment outside of the system is a testament that everyone will still get coverage regardless.

    Until I moved here, I was never afraid of the health care I got. Now I am. I so wish I could get covered - as a Canadian overseas but since I do not live there right now, I'm SOL. It means I have to worry whether the simplest of things will be covered. I find that wait times are the same - OR WORSE - than what I had in Toronto. And here, I get to pay for the privilege of that. I'm sorry but as I often hear.. that ain't right.

    I know at least one thing: if I lost my job here today, I could go back home and be covered. I wouldn't have to worry as much as I do today (I'd still worry about getting a job but at least if an accident happened, I'd know I'd have that safety net to get back on my feet and become, once again, an active participant in society and not a throwaway person).

    August 21, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  270. K. Cox

    So, Candians come here for scans? I have to go to Canada for my meds. I tried to sign up for Medicare D when it was first offered. The drug company said Medicare told them I already had Medicare D and Medicare said that was not true. I spent hundreds of hours on the telephone trying to straighten this out , actually had Medicare talking to the Med provider when I was on the line. Nothing! I wrote letters to medicare that were never answered. I searched for a advocate and found none. So now I get my meds - I have cancer - from Canada. I believe it amounts to about the same $$$ as it would if I had Medicare D. I've traveled enough to know Americans pay at least 30 per cent more than the rest of the world for identical drugs made by he same pharmas. Often the difference is 50 per cent.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  271. Neil Kenndy

    Wow the Canadians will not let you use money to 'cut the line' but needy Americans are being pushed further back in the line because money can 'cut the quque' for you ....... Even Canadian government money can be used to block Americans from timely use of American health services.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  272. Roger

    It means their system is not the best either, but that person was able to get the care and not pay a dime? What do you think?

    August 21, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  273. Lynn-Detroit

    Are we also going to talk about the BUSLOADS of Michiganders that go to Canada for their medicine? And the fact that probably 40% of the citizens of Detroit could not get the same angioplast because they don't have health insurance? Or my friend in California, a nurse-a valued and still employable profession, who has been waiting for a hip replacement for 6 MONTHS with still no date provided? No, we're not. We're going to point fingers at countries that score WAY above us in just about everything medical! Now before you start touting the Detroit Free Press, remember they endorsed Kwame Kilpatrick!

    August 21, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  274. Jerry

    It means,The Administrations, priorities are not in order.America's health care is not perfect, but it not worth shredding it apart and throwing it up in the air in hopes that when it lands, that this tremendous debt were building up will get better, and our new health care system will be perfect or close to it. Think about it, with these many hands in our health care it it going to be disaterous. I'd be working on Illegal Immigration, or trying to finding a way to get our people home from Afaganistan, or Iraq. Or stop hunger in America. There is a lot more important things we should be doing.Health care has become all political. Jerry / Iowa

    August 21, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  275. Eric M

    This is great that Canadians get the best medical care as fast as they can, even if it means taking a quick trip to another country. Wouldn't it be great if patients in the U.S. had those kinds of options?

    Keep in mind that the only thing that separates Windsor from Detroit is a river. Of course some times it will be more efficient for a Canadian patient to take a five minute trip over the bridge to an American hospital in a big city like Detroit than to take a FOUR HOUR trip to a similar hospital in Toronto!

    That the Canadian government gives people this option is great.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  276. Martin Giroux

    I live in Montreal, Quebec. Our healthcare is fantastic. My mother had a stroke and was well taken care of, at no cost. I've had three kids, two delivered in an amazing hospital, no problems, no cost. My wife had a problem with her knee, was operated on within weeks, no problems, no cost. Yes sometimes it takes a few hours to see a GP, unless it's a real emergency and then you get in the system real quick. I was hospitalized for six days. No problems, no costs.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  277. Robert

    How about Americans who come to Canada with fake Canadian documents, get treated free and go home. Or come with health problems, get treated and promise to pay but never do.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  278. John from Toronto

    Hey Jack. I am an older Canadian from Toronto, live in northern Ontario in the summer and in Florida in the winter. I wouldn't ever trade Canada's affordable and excellent health care for outrageously expensive although good care in U.S.A. Yes. Yes. Yes. I DO pay taxes and do so willingly knowing that all Canadians are covered ... no ifs, ands or buts. I have a great family doctor and receive prompt and caring service wherever I am in Canada. I do carry extra insurance in the U.S.A. due to the astronomical costs there. The vile lies circulating in the U.S.A. about our health services are motivated by the greed and self interests of the fortunate in your society! Get a grip and support President Obama!!!

    August 21, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  279. Len

    What I wrong with Canadians crossing the border to get health care in the US. Nothing! Our system does not care if you get services from private care, the US, Mexico or even Cuba. Just that you get the care and its paid for by the system. Also note lots of US citizens come to Canada to get their medications because you systems rips you off. Being Canadian and having health care all my life I would never give it up for any reason. The citizens of the US should not be scared of universal health care. My wife when she got sick was in the system and receiving hundreds of thousands of medical treatment and never waited like your news casts and appointments like to play over and over. If you live in a city you are guaranteed excellent care if you need it right away. If it is and elective surgery you wait in line or you can pay for it through a private system if you want to jump the cue. There is nothing wrong with this. We give up speediness in the system so everyone gets health care and no one goes bankrupt due to health issues. And yes one of the leading causes of bankruptcies in the US is due to medical treatments.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  280. Bill - Colorado

    So what is the problem being addressed here? The man gets treatment and is paid for by Canadian health care system. Sounds like a pretty good deal to me. Think of it, no lifetime caps, no preexisting conditions, no hassle with insurance bait and switch tactics, biting your nails if you will have to hire a lawyer to fight to pay the claims after you have paid thousands of dollars of premiums into a health insurance company. That is of course if the health insurance company hasn't dropped you when you get sick. How come the righties never seem to bring this up? Go tell seniors their medicare is "socialist", or the VA, or Tricare for military retirees and active duty, surely they want that their government benefits to go away?....That will get politicians elected..NOT.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  281. Jesse

    What difference does it make Jack? The Canadian government ends up footing the bill anyways. I have been living in Canada all my life and I think we have the greatest health care in the world. I have seen hospitals in the U.S. and I couldn't find 10 differences between Canadian and American hospitals if you payed me!

    August 21, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  282. Ted Spradley

    My understanding of the Canadian system us that ALL healthcare providers are privately owned, not publicly owned, and that the health insurance system is publicly owned.  The delivery of health care is private!

    So, the situation you describe in Detroit is not out of character or an indictment of their system or even a bad thing!  The 'national health care system' as you put it normally pays 100% of a healthcare event.

    This example is rather than being a negative  is a description of a strong flexible system.  The insurance carrier found delivery of healthcare and paid for it!

    Best Regards,

    Ted Spradley
    Houston, TX

    August 21, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  283. Greg in Colorado

    I am a Canadian who has lived in the US for over seven years. I am very familiar with both systems, and to say that either one is a panacea is ludicrous. The Canadian plan (I was born & raised in Ontario...) has fantastic advantages, as does the US plan (such as it is...).

    It's frustrating to see people (you included, Jack...) 'suggest' that health care reform in the US will result in a system identical to what's in Ontario, or Britain, or France. That's ludicrous. The main limitation to health care in Ontario is a lack of facilities...not a lack of desire by the government to have healthy citizens. In the United States all those facilities already exist; all that's needed is federal funding to make it available to those who can't afford it.

    It seems to me that with such a massive health infrastructure already in place in the US this country is positioned to have the best health care system in the world...all that needs to be done is to fund access to it for everybody.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  284. Trista

    Who cares if they come here to get the treatment sooner? The way that Canadian Medical is structured EVERYBODY gets treated. They prioritize the 'WHEN' byt the actual 'need' of a patient.

    In Canada, say you have a tumor, they may make you wait a year to get it treated if it's not life threatening or growing at an accelerated rate, after having run intial tests.

    Here in the US, I could have a tumor thats been growing for the past 2 years, because thats the last time I was able to afford a check-up on my condition.

    At least if I were in Canada I would know if it's even there... and if it is; I would have a date that it would be treated without worry of financial burdon. Here in the US I could A) Just ignore it or B) Put me and my family into finacial ruin to treat it.

    What does it say to me that some Canadian's come to the US to be treated so that they don't have to wait?

    It says they have little patience, and have found a way to get it sooner– through THEIR medical– FOR FREE. They still have a better medical system than us.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  285. Sven Honemann

    Jack, I personally know someone who has to go to Canada because he can't afford the treatment here in the U.S. You will always have people crossing the border, regardless of the quality of your health care system. Heck, if someone offered me to go for my treatment to Europe , I would go in a heartbeat.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  286. Adam

    Jack, even if they are coming across the border its being paid for by their government. When you say that emergencies are treated right away in Canada, it is not the same thing as being uninsured in the U.S. and going to the ER and getting patched up and sent home. In the U.S. if I am uninsured and have throat cancer and can't breathe, I go to the ER have an airway opened up and am sent home. I don't receive the treatment for the cancer Chemo/Radiation. Is that what happens in places like Canada?
    PHX., AZ.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  287. richard hospital user since 9 years old

    what I wonder is if I had my accident in the U.S of A who would of payed my bill or what type of care I would of received with limited funds, – 22 hr reconstructive facial surgery 24 plates 98 screws and had the option of taking them out later (9 hr surgery) which I did/ People who genrally goe to the states to receive medical care are mostly the elective surgery type which generally is a long waiting list (the one downside to our health care system) but those who cannot wait and have the dollars are the ones who go. ... I will stay up here thank you despite the lovely people from down there.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  288. Hopkinson in L.A (from Sydney, Australia)

    I totally understand Canada utilizing the U.S health care facilities. Why not, it's nearby and makes sense if someone has an emergency and doesn't want to be on a waiting list. And why complain, it's being paid for, albeit at a ridiculous rate, but nonetheless supporting American hospitals and health care professionals.

    PLEASE have a look at Australia's government health care system, it really does work a charm and we have no one close by to help out in an emergency. My father recently had a triple bypass and we didn't see a bill.

    We also don't have fear mongering special interest groups preaching conspiracy theories, and tales of socialism. Ridiculous.

    My wife just flew to Australia 8 months pregnant to prepare to have our baby down there for FREE even though we are residents of the U.S. She maybe breach and requiring a ceasarian, that would cost us at least $10K here in the U.S, in Australia however, nothing. It's covered under our brilliant government health care system that co-exists with a private health insurance system for those able to afford more luxury care.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  289. Lalo Acevedo

    Americans cross the border into Mexico all the time for health care (i.e., dentistry, surgery, meds, etc.). What's wrong with this picture?

    :- )

    August 21, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  290. Imran

    Jack, I used to live in windsor. Most people cross the border either they work in michigan with health insurance or they are rich. There's long waiting but i believe emergency service is great and you don't have to worry about paying for it.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  291. Patricia Salkey

    I have health insurance for the family. My daughter spent 2 days in hospital and the bills keep coming. I was threatened with being turned over to debt collector even though I'm paying on the bill every month. I'm Canadian living in the U.S. The stress of healthcare here is killing me.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  292. Mark N

    It means that Canada has one of the best health care systems in the world. To be clear, Canadians are not traveling to the US en masse to access health care services. The vast majority of Canadians are well served in Canada when accessing emergency and elective services. What is asked when evaluating the need for a Canadian patient to travel abroad for health care is: "what is best for the patient?" The US system would be better served by this approach then the current model which asks: "what is best for the bottom line?" Provincial governments in Canada are investing billions in expanding and improving facilities while refusing to compromise patient care – that is the right thing to do.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  293. Tristan

    Wait, the Canadian government picks up the tab? So, what's the problem? If my insurance company can't treat me immediately they will under no circumstances pay for me to go elsewhere. How can I become Canadian?

    August 21, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  294. Lindsay

    Canada is saving money by sending its citizens to hospitals in the US for healthcare. Insurance companies here are saving money by denying their customers healthcare. At least the money Canada saves goes back into the country. Not only do we lose benefits here, but all that money goes into making the insurance giants even better at screwing us over, too.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  295. Jim, Dubuque,IA

    Quebec had to institute picture IDs because of all the Americans trying to get health care in Canada. The French and German systems are better models than the Canadian or UK systems. However, no system will be viable in the economic disintegration we are just seeing the beginning of. None the less, the corrupt relationship between the corporate health care complex and our government must end.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  296. Dan Ontario Canada

    As a Canadian, to me, it means "thank you health care system for getting me the medical treatment I need regarless of the cost".

    basically doing the right thing, helping those in need.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  297. Ken DeLuca

    I'm a Canadian two time cancer survivor. Under Ontario Health Plan ( tax-supported ) I have received 35 dose course of radiation, three surgeries , various MRI, CT scans and PET scans, on three occasions time in hospital.

    Direct cost to me about $230 to cover TV, phone and parking. The rest was paid for by my government-managed health care insurance.

    You receive tests and treatment according to what your doctor deems the urgency and severity of your case. I waited one month for my Cat-scan. Others with non-life threatening problems might have to wait longer.

    As to cost savings by sharing facilities across the border, that's just efficient use of existing resources that benefits everyone. If, for instance, only a few dozen cases need quick referral in the U.S. for cat scans each year, maybe it makes financial sense to lease rather than buy.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  298. Charles O'Hara

    Given that the Canadian goverment is paying for the care that their citizens are receiving in the US, I suspect that Canada cares more about their people than we care about our own people. Canada has arrived at the logical conclusion that it is less expensive for them to come to the US than to develop their own resources. How is this that much different than having US citizens go to Canada for their prescription drugs. Oh, I know, the US government is paying for the medicine.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  299. Alan

    It may mean that an American or two gets bumped from the treatment priority lists of our own hospitals. At one point Canada tried to implement a two tiered public private system in which Canadians could pay private doctors and hospitals extra a to avoid waiting lists on tier one. Guess what. It did not fly. Because those who could pay extra would have drained the coffers of the primary system which would be subsidizing their private care. Example: Primary healthcare pays $25,000 for 2 stents and patient pays an additional $10,000 to jump ahead of the pack. That being defeated they are now working another angle at our expense.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  300. bonedoc

    My neighbor, a canadian physician who has moved to the US, told me his mother in canada fell and broke her wrist and waited four days in the emergency room to have it set and casted. Care like that will get you sued in this country

    August 21, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  301. mark in canada

    What does it mean that my country will pay thousands of dollars to another country for them to perform the odd medical procedure, instead of paying millions of dollars for the personnel and equipment so we can do it ourselves? It means that we have good sense.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  302. Erin

    What it means is that a lot of specialists left Canada when the country went to socialized medicine. Other doctors did as well. To me this means that the doctors went to a country where they could be more AFFLUENT and are not being doctors because of their love of medicine and wanting to help/cure patients. To me.....those that stayed in Canada have their hearts and minds in the right place. It is wonderful that the Canadian health care does cover their peoples' medical expenses outside of the country......A + for them. Now, having said that, to your question I will say that since there is a shortage of practitioners/doctors in Canada and therefore long waits for care, Canadians come here BECAUSE it is covered and not because they can afford it otherwise or that the doctors here are better or that their health care is ineffective and inadequate. So, if the States become more socialized it will really separate the wheat from the chaff when it comes to people who choose to go into the medical profession. They will go into it knowing that it is a valued profession and not out of the lure to being grossly overpaid demi-gods.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  303. Diana Olson

    At least the Canadian who crossed into Michigan and had their surgery done and paid in full by Canada, Most retiree's who thought they had benefits for life in the U.S have been cut or taken away. We would not be able to go to Canada and have surgery and have the U.S pay for it.

    Our very young grandson who has had Parkinson's as a teen living in Michigan, can't even get good health insurance and his medications are very costly.

    The ones who are scared of change are the ones lucky enough to have plans through the federal government and have it made with full benefits and some for life like our senators, president and the congress who will never be in need.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  304. Jackie

    I never got my answer whenI asked why Natasha Richardson came to the United States for treatment rather than be treated in Canada. Does anyone know why that happened?

    August 21, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  305. Lorilie

    As a Canadian and now living in the U.S. I can tell you what that means...it means that our government doesn't shy away from the health care system we have. We are looked at as human beings – if the care we need cannot be dealt with in a timely manner in our country...our government makes sure we are taken care of else where. Fully paid. Thats our national health care system...one in which I never complained about my higher taxes for. 🙂

    August 21, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  306. Tai

    Just the same thing it meant when Americans cross the border into Canada for treatment, or when they, Americans, went to Cuba to get otherwise expensive prescription drugs (see Michael Moore's SICKO)–No System Is Perfect!

    August 21, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  307. Jeannine/North Hollywood, CA

    The Canadians are coming here because there are so many uninsured and underinsured Americans that we have the slots available for the Canadians for their "medically necessary" procedures, after all their govt is payng for it what do they care that an uninsured American perhaps needing the same procedure is told to hit the bricks because they couldn't pay up front. Yeah that's really fair.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  308. Dan Lowe

    Jack, It means that we have better Doctors and hospitals than Canada has but keep in mind that Michigan also takes trash from Canada. A better question would be, how much does it cost the american taxpayers for health care for 13 to 20 million illegal allians that should not be in this country. If we had a government that cared about americans we would not have that problem either.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  309. Joe Hale RN

    If Canada put even close the the GDP percentage we in the U.S put into health care the would not have to cross the border for elective procedures. Angioplasties can be staged one at a time to preserve kidney function are frequently done as elective procedures. These are big money makers for physicians and hospitals in the U.S. Not so in most countries that have socialized health care.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  310. Wendy

    As a Canadian who lives in Ontario, it means that my Government takes care of my health at home or abroad as seemed necessary. It means that I don't have to worry about health care during my retirement or get into financial ruins if I ever get sick. Canadians retire on average 5 years earlier than U.S. citizens. BTW, if Canadians have to travel out of the country to get health care, the government pays for all travel expenses including mileage and hotel stays.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  311. Glenn

    Think about it: Michael Vujovich came to the US for an angioplasty. The bill was $38,000. It was paid in FULL by the Ministry of Health!!!! Ontario. They do the right thing and pick up the tab. What a country!!! We can learn a lot from them. Yes, let's model our plan after the Canadians.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  312. Jeff

    The question you should ask is how many people from Canada, Britain, Franch, etc would choose the American approach over their own if they had the chance. I don't think you would find many takers. I am a Canadian and although our system isn't perfect, I'm glad I won't lose my health insurance, or my house if I get sick. Americans most likely do have the best Health Care in the world, but what good is that for the 40 or so million americans who can't afford it. Its funny that the article states that 100% of Canadians have free access to health care in the US if need be, but not 100% of Americans do.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  313. Crystal

    I honestly dont know why any an American wouldnt want Canadas health care sysytem. EVERYONE no matter your age, race, or WEALTH is covered!!!!! Yup thats right even if you have an old preexisting injury your still covered. Yes it may take time to see that specialist but you still get to see them and it doesnt cost you a penny! I am a proud Canadian and I dont dare step foot in the US with out every possible piece of Medical Insurance I can get.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  314. Gram

    Please note that the physicians in the Henry Ford Health System are paid salary, not like the local private hospitals in the Detroit area. My husband was on staff there for 18 years... I'm a researcher who ran a federally supported study that had to eliminate Canadians from studies at private hospitals...There were lots of them, their care paid for by the Canadian system...We desparately need a single payer system

    August 21, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  315. Mike Green

    Our Alberta, Canada Government has an agreement with Montanna for health care. We have several patients come up here to Calgary from Montanna and some go down to Montanna depnding on the beds and Doctors who are available. If there is a disaster in either place we can look after each other. We have the same agreement with out bordering provinces. In fact we have patients come from Mexico and other Latin American countries for special surgeries. Its nice that Canada and USA can cooperate. I think you'll find the same situation between Ontario and Michigan.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  316. Shelley

    I'm a Canadian, living in a border city. I can't count the number of people I know who willingly cross into Michigan and pay for services out of their own pockets because the waiting lists here are interminable. I waited four months for an MRI. My mother waited three months for GI tests to be done. Several friends pay out of pocket for the services of dermatologists because the wait can be several months here. And, contrary to popular belief, health care is NOT free in Canada. The health care fee is collected based on your income and taxed on your yearly return. I paid over $800 for 2008, and I have an average income. And those waitng lists? I'm on another one, two months and counting...

    August 21, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  317. Richard, Kankakee, IL.

    We do not have a healthcare system we have a complete joke! What it really is a an insurance system that is breaking the entire nation! The one people that are benefiting are the rich and the right!

    August 21, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  318. Bud - Evansville IN.

    Canadians crossing the border for U.S. health care?
    Why don't they go to Mexico? who's health system is the better ?pehaps we are finding out.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  319. Terry from New Zealand

    It is called outsourcing. When companies do it to save costs it is okay. Why not for the Canadian Health System ? The important point is the patient received the treatment and didn't pay. Didn't matter if he was rich or poor.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  320. Sonny Rivas

    Canada covers the bill!!!! What? that would never happen in the US no matter the case. This says to me that they actually care about their citizens and not just the bottom-line. People in this country who don't want reform probably have insurance and are being selfish. I just hope none of them get sick and get some stupid "pre-existing condition" crap or whatever else the insurance company invents to get you off their rolls. I bet you Canadian never worry about that.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  321. Tom

    Hey Jack:

    Opponents to health care keep bringing up small percentages of people in Canada with health care service problems. Now you have pointed out the people from Ontario coming to the US to obtain care that is still paid for by Canada. Sounds like the Canadian government is trying to show some common sense by investing their dollars in service at already available US facilities than putting up more brick and mortar. How about pointing out all of the US citizens that are becoming medical tourists to Thailand, India and Costa Rica in order to obtain affordable medical care?

    Tom in Florida

    August 21, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  322. Mark in Chicago, IL

    Outsourcing is generally cheaper, after all. And with the economy in Michigan the way it is, there's almost certainly no shortage of open appointment slots.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  323. jim

    Would someone here please tell me why the government needs to pay for my healthcare. I'm a grown man and I should make my own way in the world, not look for a handout.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  324. Ben from il

    Don't be fooled, stories like this are propergated by GOP. In statistic, more US residents crosses the over to Canada to seek for health care help.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  325. Bryan

    Bryan (Newfoundland)
    The Canadian Health Care System works perfectly with a few glitches here and there! If the Windsor man who needed help was in the USA he would have had to pay $38,000 or more in the States, out of his pocket (If he didn't have insurance), and then wouldn't be allowed to get health insurance because of a pre-existing condition. At least in Canada the Windsor Man had his procedure covered!

    I do not understand Americans who are willing to pay over a trillion dollars to fight a war in Iraq, which only benefited Military Contract Dealers and arms sellers, and in the same breath argue over less money to help themselves with a Universal Health Care System???

    August 21, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  326. Steve Canada

    Convenience and access..Canadians very seldom pay out of pocket for US healthcare,its covered by our Healthcare system..My wife has worked in the US system for 15 years (we live on the border)..The difference is simple..in Canada bring your health card (no charges). In your country, bring your credit card...Simple, isn't it....

    August 21, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  327. Mary Webb

    My there is so much info and significant mis-info about the Universal health care in Canada. Yes some provinces may utilize a few services from the US and appreciate the service. However, most of us do not – and thank goodness we have our Canadian health services for all citizens. My father did not have funds to pay for three surgeries for his Cancer – and his final hospitalization – no cost to him. My mother has heart disease, inoperable breast cancer and had a fall breaking her shoulder – with great care at her local and regional hospital for all conditions...no costs for a woman who is elderly and has significant income – she is not able to pay for any extras, but is well cared for. The Canadian system in general is great – and we see the health care professionals we need to see...yes our system works for all Canadians...it seems there is some fear mongering by opposition maybe because change is a challenge or is it the big 'insurance' business that drives it.....thanks, mary

    August 21, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  328. Tim from Flin Flon, MB, Canada

    Upper class Canadians that can AFFORD the care in the U.S. will cross the border, and even then only in special circumstances. They pay the price and get prompt care. The other 99% of us will wait in line and get affordable care, and be thankful we can still afford to keep our house after the scars have healed.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  329. JB from Indiana

    I'm so tired of hearing that people cannot afford health care. I paid for mine for two years until I got it through work. Maybe people need to give up their cable TV and dining out and going to the movies so they can afford health care. It's called personal responsibility. Try it sometime.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  330. A. J.

    I am a physician who trained across the border from Windsor. I have so many stories of Canadians coming across the border for health care (emergent and otherwise), but what was always most striking to me was the huge number of Canadian nurses who came across the border to work in Detroit. I remember one morning the clinic nurse was late because she was delayed at the border. I asked her why she bothered with the hour long commute crossing the border every day. She told me that she did it to get the (American) employee health insurance! Any physician who knows anything will tell you that if you want to find the best medical care in town ask a nurse. What I want to know is where we should go to get away from OUR "Government option?"

    August 21, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  331. kerry

    It just means that the closest facility available was in the US, the Canadian government still took care of the bill. That's the big problem here in the US, not whether the medicine/doctors/facilities are available it's how to keep paying for them when the average salary increase is 3% but health insurance increase is 8%

    August 21, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  332. Jan, British Columbia, Canada

    I'd like to see percentage numbers pertaining to how many people actually go to the States for care, rather than people trotting out anecdotal "evidence". I am 46 years old, lived in Canada all my life, and know NO ONE who has gone to the States for healthcare. And I only live 6 miles from the US border. In fact, we buy special health-travel insurance when we travel there in case of any healthcare needs. I'm just not interested in paying $5.00 for every band-aid. I pay $96 a month for health insurance for myself and my husband and have never paid for a doctors appointment, surgery, ambulance ride, or bandaid. And I've never had to wait an unreasonable amount of time for anything....ever. THAT'S the norm for me and those I know.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  333. Tzoumezi Toronto

    Jack here is the only problem with our health system.

    Long waiting periods for minor not life threatening surgeries.
    The reason for that is the shortage of Dr.'s. The reason for that shortage is because American recruiters back in the '80s used to come in Canada and promise super wages to our doctors who more than willingly moved to the USA. Check how many Canadian doctors and nurses work in USA.
    Other than that our system is 1000 times better than yours.


    August 21, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  334. PAT California

    Obviously Canada cannot handle some types of treatment. I think it's a good thing if the US and Canada can work together to treat the Canadian population. We both benefit.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  335. Lisa in New York

    It shows that the Canadians have health insurance that works! I have a high-end, point-of-service insurance plan here in the States, but it didn't cover my cardiology bills after a recent visit to my local hospital's emergency room. And I sure couldn't afford to pay for an $38,000 angioplasty entirely out of pocket.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  336. LEO DYCE

    in your usual conservative leaning diatirbe, you pointed out that Canadians are coming to this country because their system is not working. The point is that ours is. Does this mean that there is no room for improvement? Do you really believe that coming up with a plan that will include coverage for 46 million UNINSURED AMERICANS, not illegal aliens is a bad thing? Reports like yours play into the hype that those who are privaledged with health insurance and too darn selfish to be able to see themselve in a position of being without it have used to condone their "me first, screw them" attitude! You and your friends on Fox should be ashamed, but I know that you are not!

    August 21, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  337. Phillip Bias

    It looks to me like most people on here want a system where they will have to travel elsewhere to get 1st quality care but a bandaid is free. if we chage the system thats what we will get. the high quality docs will go where the money is and we get the malpactice left overs for free. Not for me or mine. i would rather have the best docs in the world and struggle to pay as to wait forever to see a quack.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  338. Comments from Canada

    I can tell you that I'm a Canadian and I wouldn't trade the US health care for our system for anything. For just over $100 a month, our family of four gets excellent care. We see the doctor whenever we want, not when it can fit our budget. I don't know what Americans are afraid of ... going to the doctor? We look at the "protests" and wonder what is it you are protesting? I took my daughter to the emergency room the other night – and I live about 20 mintues outside of Vancouver proper – we were there for 90 minutes from start to finish. It was early in the morning at a small community hospital, but we got care immediately and I didn't need to figure out if I, as a single mother, could afford to take my sick child to the doctor.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  339. Hugh Toronto


    Its no differnt than Americans Flying to India for affordable operations.

    Or Americans crossing the Canadian and Mexican border for affordable drugs

    Your system is more broke than ours – Stop knocking your presidents and get behind them

    August 21, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  340. Luke

    It means that you are counting on a lot of your readers not knowing that Windsor, Ontario is just across the river from Detroit, so it seems like a bigger deal than it is. It means Canada is smart enough to utilize the US hospitals oversupply. (A lot of US hospitals pay $$$$ for equipment that other nearby facilities already have underutilized, so as not to lose the customers.) It means that residents of Windsor are much more likely to be able to afford care in Detroit hospitals than residents of Detroit.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  341. Norm Phillips

    Come on Jack, tell the rest of the story. If you needed an angioplasy in the U.S. and were poor, you just would not get one period. Also where did the Canadian go after they got their angioplasty? Did they stay in the U.S. NO I would bet my social security check, they beat it right back accross the border.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  342. Nick

    Similar to the way we choose to import products and services from other countries, a freedom that we are proud of, the Canadian health system has chosen to import health services from the USA because they find it more affordable than providing those services themselves at this time. The fact that the Canadian system can afford to pay for the US health service shows that the Canadian Health system is working.
    The USA needs to get a system together that will be affordable and deliver the service that the residents need.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  343. Mary

    Thank you cnn for finally ending the bias on this issue. It is not a good system when a person can't get an angioplasty in a timely manner. This is not a wealthy person who can't wait in line with the riffraff, this is a person who will possibly die if they are made to wait. You try waiting for any surgery you need when your condition is dire. So many people without healthcare think the Canadian style system is better than nothing but remember that those who are without are not the majority. Many more people with healthcare don't want to see the quality decline. If you want to control rise in costs, look at the lawsuits. The cost of malpractice insurance put my Uncle out of business and he was the head of a major hospital's neurology dept.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  344. Brady Allin

    Like most Canadians, I can admit that our system is overburdened in some areas, but I think it's important to understand the many factors that go into cost considerations in the construction of our infrastructure. Our demographics and geography provide challenges in determining where to develop and deliver new services. Most Canadians would agree that reforms are needed, and we continue to push our politicians toward new solutions. But it's important to note that as Canadians push for better services an overwhelming portion of our population is opposed to any privitization of our system that resembles that of the US. Under our system, and entrenched in culture is the moral imperative to provide that care to those who need it, as demonstrated by this story. Often the best solutions lie in partnerships, both literally and in terms of ideas. Our system increasingly privitizes the delivery of care in pursuit of efficiency, but ensures the fundamental right of access to our best standards of care. American's deserve a comprehensive conversation based on facts and real models. It's shameful so many of their politicians continue to deny them that respect. The media could do more to help.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  345. Patrick

    Hey Jack,

    What about all of the Americans living close to the border sneaking into Canada looking for free health care. This has been proven and documented. At least, if a Canadian goes to the U.S. for care your system is reimbursed 100% for the costs of the care immediately. Where as there is no way to recoup cost extended to American health care cheats in Canada. It would be nice to see you provide an even-handed report once in a while.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  346. paul

    $38.000.00 for an agioplasty.
    How many people can afford that, i know not me.
    Oh wait a moment.... I am canadian it will not cost me anything
    Stop letting your politicians tell you our system does not work...after all Im sure every politician has taxpayer paid healthcare for themselves and their family

    August 21, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  347. Catherine

    You could not pay me any amount of money to have to live with your healthcare system.
    What on earth is wrong with paying taxes directed at supporting a universal programme? They are not necessarily more taxes either.

    It is the priority that is placed on your citizens well being, vs say invading sovereign nations and spending trillions on war. And killing off thousands of your next generation as well. There is always money. It just depends on whether you support corrupt insurance companies ability to make exorbitant profit off of your citizens misery instead of patient driven care.

    Our system is great. Of course it needs constant attention and readjusting. Like everything else in life.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  348. Mark


    Windsor is a small city a few minutes away from a large city accross the border called Detroit. It only makes sense that if there is excess capacity in Detroit we would use this instead of adding capacity in Windsor.

    The closest large city to Windsor in Canada is London which is 2 hours away.

    Your question also presumes that Americans never come to Canada for health care but this is just plain false. They come here all the time. Just the other day I met an Amercian here in London at the world renowned Fowler sports clinic for treatment.

    Canadians aren't all that different than Americans and if you were to poll Canadians 99.9% would never switch to your system. We have better health outcomes than the US including lower infant mortality, longer lifespan etc.

    Why don't you ask a question about the hundreds of babies in Detroit neonatal wards because their mothers couldn't afford prenatal care.

    Your system sucks and slamming ours systems won't help Americans one bit.

    London, Ontario

    August 21, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  349. Teri

    What does it mean? It certainly does not mean that the US healthcare industry is better for patients than the Canadian healthcare system. It does not mean that US hospitals give better quality of care. It does not mean that only wealthy Canadians can afford the "superior quality" of US facilities. The fact is, if there is need and our system cannot respond in a quick enough manner, a critically ill patient gets bumped to the head of the line. Even if it means flying them to another country. The health of a patient comes first. The bill gets paid later. Healthcare is a right in our country, not a business and not a privilege. What I would like to know is, why are large news channels focusing on the perceived health care flaws of other countries, instead of focusing on the far more substantial problems in their own country? How many Americans can't afford to go to the doctor? Because everyone in Canada can! Most Canadians believe that free healthcare is a fundamental part of being a Canadian, and if given the opportunity, we would rather pay higher taxes if it means that a three year old gets a heart transplant when she needs it. Period.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  350. barth gozzi

    Jack..I think you are confusing the quality of medical treatment money can buy with the Whole healthcare system
    Nobody argues the fact that some of the best physicians in the world are here in the United States. And we keep attracting some of the bests minds in medicine as in other fields.
    The problem, however, is with the system of healthcare delivery, not the quality of care your money can buy if you can afford it.
    The irony of the case of the gentleman in your example is that he could have been denied care, by his insurance company, if he lived here in The United States.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  351. Cyle in Dublin

    Put simply Jack, we have better toys.

    One of the reasons we have the ability to provide great health care is that our hospitals tend to buy the latest and greatest gadgets for performing complex diagnostics and medical care.

    That said – its also a contributing factor to the expense of medical care – that multi-layer, full-color, 3-D, MRI, with espresso attachment isn't gonna pay for itself, you know.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:30 pm |
  352. Jason O

    I think the point of this story is that the Ontario Provincial healthcare system footed the bill.......when Americans run to other countries to have procedures done, can they say the same of their insurance companies????

    Milton, Ontario

    August 21, 2009 at 6:30 pm |
  353. Lew Parker

    Canadians who cross our borders for medical care means that they can afford US medical costs. According to "The Healing of America: A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper, and Fairer Health Care" (Time, 8/31/09), "20,000 people die each year because they can't afford to see a doctor" and "700,000 a year go bankrupt because of their medical bills." We need to look at empirical data, not anecdotal incidents, to get the BIG picture.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:30 pm |
  354. Gary

    It indicates that the single payer option is working and working well. I can say, as a Canadian citizen that our infrastructure is in dire need of reform.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:30 pm |
  355. Billy Ray

    I was born and raised in the U.S., but have lived in Canada for 47 years - and I would not even THINK of going back to live in the U.S. The Canadian Health Care system is not perfect, but is definitely superior to the U.S. program. Those who try to discredit the Canadian system obviously have not lived on both sides of the border. It seems to me that most of those who try to knock us down are the extreme right-wing conservatives who are just venting a lot of hot air, and a lot of plain
    arrogant ignorance!!

    August 21, 2009 at 6:30 pm |
  356. Jair Lopes

    I lived in USA for 15 years and always had medical insurance provided by my employer. I paid out of my paycheck around $250.00 monthly. My co-pays were 20% of the cost of the treatment and in average i spent with co-pays close to $3,000.00 + prescriptions (family of 5).
    I have been in Canada since February of 2009. We have a PCP who takes care of us at a clinic and we have used their system for MRI, Blood Work and vaccinations and NOT PAID ONE PENNY...
    Of course we had to wait 1 week for blood work results and a MRI appointment, so what??? I did not pay ONE PENNY for it....
    So, which coverage is better ?

    August 21, 2009 at 6:30 pm |
  357. Pete

    Why do Americans only compare they helath care systems to the ones in Canada, Britain and France. What about the German Health care system? Take a look at theirs and you might find another interesting policy like the cash for clunkers program which originated in Germany.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:30 pm |
  358. A Canadian

    I was sent to Buffalo from Toronto for an MRI once. Fully paid for by Government OHIP insurance. The medical system here will triage and put life threatening cases or life altering cases ahead of a routine MRI and I fully accept that.

    The point is not that health care is rationed, the point is that treatment is available whenever and wherever Canadians need it.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:30 pm |
  359. Leigh

    Some of you aren't reading too closely. It's not just rich Canadians that get quality care in the US; it's ANY of them; the cost is borne by their single-payer system. Those same hospitals contracted to serve Canadians, at no expense to them, are probably turning away uninsured Americans. This whole situation is a positive reflection on the Canadian health-care system.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:30 pm |
  360. Kathryn

    The patient got the treatment he needed and he didn't have to pay for it. His health care provider (the Ontario government) did.

    He had an urgent condtion and got it fixed. Didn't have to mortagage his house or lose it.

    I don't think it is a case of whose care is better, there are great health care providers on both sides of the borders and facilities. It is about the cost to the individual. And what the system costs.

    Canada's system needs to be re-developed but not into a public / privare morass like Dr. Day would like. Use technology to reduce administrative costs. Don't have multifple heads of health authorities.

    There is a shortage of doctors and nurses and I don't understand how creating businesses that compete for the doctors and nurses will create more doctors and nurses.

    In BC we expanded our medical program and the first expanded class graduates in 2010.

    Some suggest foreign health care workers are the way to go. Why are we stripping countries of their doctors and nurses when they are desparately needed in their home countries?

    August 21, 2009 at 6:30 pm |
  361. Eddie in Chicago

    It means that people who don't have to worry about the bill, will at the end of the day – go to wherever they can get the best and fastest treatment. People who don't have to worry about the bill are those who either have enough money, or have some other way of paying for it.

    Based on what you said, the Canadian Health Care system pays for Canadians who come to the US to obtain treatment – but would they come here for our fact, high quality, expensive treatments, if it were not for their government footing the bill. Its not like they go run into one of our emergency rooms and wait.

    The same applies to Americans who have enough money or enough insurance. They will go where the best and fastest treatment is. That doesn't apply to everyone though, we can't all even afford the basics. Some of us can only go to the nearest emergency facility, and hope to receive any care, any care at all.

    If the government foots the bill to everyone, and everyone has the ability to chose whoever they want – then the market would push everyone of the healthcare providers to improve. If people can go wherever they like without concern over price – then crappy slow services will disappear – and maybe we Americans, in America can enjoy the same ease of mind Canadians have while... in America.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:30 pm |
  362. johnsmith

    Speaking as a Canadian I love our healthcare system. When I lived in Nova Scotia it was paid by our provincial taxes and thus free. I have never had to have any specialized treatments done however. Which I think is why you are seeing Canadians crossing the border. General healthcare though is great but expensive. Its just nice to know if I get sick I am covered. I see my doctor once a year maybe twice.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:31 pm |
  363. Julie Bond

    Dear Jack,
    I am Canadian. I am very tired of hearing disparaging comments about Canada’s and for that matter Britain’s health care system. Our systems are not perfect, but everyone is covered! No one will loose their house or have to file for bankruptcy because of medical costs due to an accident or illness. I can speak form experience. I suddenly lost vision in one eye. There was no apparent cause it just happened. Within hours I was in a neurologist’s office and being treated in a local hospital. Thankfully the treatment was successful and I am fine. No cost. Yes, Canadians pay for healthcare through their taxes and I am happy to do that.

    I am glad you mentioned “elective” at the end of your comments to Wolf. My condition was acute. I received top notch treatment immediately. Please remember EVERYONE is covered here is no underclass of untreated people. Canadians know how lucky they are and cherish their system. In November 2004, Canadians voted Tommy Douglas the Greatest Canadian of all time following a nationwide contest. Tommy Douglas in the man who founded Canada’s Medicare system.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:31 pm |
  364. Lee Ontario

    Jack: I lived in USA for many years and now I live in Ontario. I have a pre-existing condition and while living in the USA I was always stressing over "what happens if I lose my job". The healthcare system is better here in Canada – no worries. I don't agree with your comment that Canadians have to wait for tests, surgeries, angioplasty, MRI, etc. My Dad needed an angioplasty and it was scheduled and completed within 24 hours. My daughter had an MRI scheduled and completed within 4 days. If the procedure is elective, not critical or life threatening then I guess there is a wait because the hospitals and medical facilities are taking care of those who really need it.

    I suppose the Canadians can ask why Americans cross the border to get there prescriptions filled – why? it is more cost effective. The pharmaceutical companies are robbing the American people – drugs in USA are double the cost compared to Canada.


    August 21, 2009 at 6:31 pm |
  365. Siara

    I know a number of people who go abroad for their health care now that things in the USA are so unfunctional. India's supposed to be a good place for heart surgery.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:31 pm |
  366. happycamperparent

    It's called outsourcing- no different from what most companies do to achieve results in a timely, economical manner. It has nothing to do with a lack of expertise or technology available to us.The Canadian healthcare system found a way to help someone who needed it- bottom line.

    I am Canadian and have never gone to the U.S for medical care nor do I know anyone who has, however I live in Montreal where we are lucky enough to have several hospitals including two dedicated soley to children's care.

    As a parent of two small children I have been there for both minor and major reasons, luckily each time my wait times were acceptable, the doctors knowledgeable and the cost... absolutely free. I wonder how many American parents can say the same thing? Healthcare systems certainly have their flaws but at the end of the day if a parent can receive quality care for their child without risking bankruptcy I think the system has done it's job.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:31 pm |
  367. Sean from Toronto

    I personally really enjoy my Ontario health care. I do not think that we can conceive of an American health care system that is identitical to another country's. What I do think can only work in the US is that each state deal with their own health care reform issues. Sometimes a blanket federal plan can't work initially, which means the roots have to grow out first.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:31 pm |
  368. Arlene

    As a Canadian living in Michigan and work in the healthcare field, i can say that Windsor, Ontario is a small city in Canada with approximately 200,000 people and therefore suffers from limit resorces
    ie hospitals etc as any small city in the United States.
    Lack of doctors to serve the public and only two hospitals. i know people who drive four hours in Michigan to come to Detroit for cancer treatment.

    We need healthcare for everyone in the United States

    August 21, 2009 at 6:31 pm |
  369. Janice from Toronto

    Its simply a case of economies of scale. Detroit's population is several times larger than Windsor's often making it cheaper for the insurer (ie. Ontario government) to contract services in the US than to pay for the infrastructure in smaller communities. Either way Canadians receive the healthcare they need without stressing about how to pay for it.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:31 pm |
  370. Akshay Khandelwal, MD FACC FSCAI

    As the physician in charge of the Acute Myocardial Infarction (emergency angioplasty) program at Henry Ford Hospital, I would like to clarify your story about Canadians seeking healthcare in the US, at least as it pertains to angioplasty. The only patients for whom the Ontario health ministry provides reimbursement for are emergency heart attack patients who either get "clot-busters" which fail to do the job, or who are not candidates for "clot-busters" in the first place. This, too, should not reflect poorly on Canadian health care; Windsor, Ontario faces a situation much like our smaller cities and towns that don't have an angioplasty program and must give "clot-busters" to those eligible for treatment, and transfer out patients who either fail this treatment or are not candidates for this treatment. The only difference is that Ontario recognized that rather than transferring the patient several hours away, it was better for patient care if they crossed the river into Detroit, and Henry Ford Hospital is 15 minutes away from their medical centers. Because of patient confidentiality, I cannot divulge details of the said patient's procedure, but elective angioplasty is performed very capably in Windsor, and would only be performed at our hospital if the patient paid out-of-pocket; this is not covered by the Ontario ministry.

    By the way, I meet many Canadian patients through our line of work–although a few of them are dissatisfied with their health care system, it is still a smaller proportion than the American patients who are dissatisfied with theirs.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:31 pm |
  371. Jim

    We are not considering Canadian style health care, so what is the point of the question? Do we need to further confuse the issue? I expect better from you, Jack.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:32 pm |
  372. Gilbert Drapeau (Calgary - Alberta - Canada)

    As a Canadian recently hospitalized in Las Vegas for blood clots, I can say with some assurance that the level of care received is in every way comparable to what is being offered in Canada. That said, having to pay $ 2 500 for five days worth of medication and being requested to leavea $ 5 000 deposit at the hospital was a shock indeed. I can't help but think of the 47 million Americans who are left out there on their own. Who can afford $ 2 500 every five days for medication? And I'm not even considering my two-day hospital stay. We do have our problems, which we are working on, such as overcrowding, usually do to service misuse, however I can walk in any hospital with a serious ailment knowing I will receive first class treatment for my tax dollars, about 3 to to 5% more than the average American. And remember, we do have mandated drug costs also!

    August 21, 2009 at 6:32 pm |
  373. ds, San Diego

    If the canadian system can afford sending it patients to US hospitals, it means it isn't the hospitals that are driving up the costs here.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:32 pm |
  374. Ken - Surrey, British Columbia

    It means that Big Health Care Business interests want to drive a wedge into the Canadian Gov't health care industry to regain control.

    After all, it's a 30 million + person market opportunity and growing.

    For years they have been lobbying government for a two tier system – one for the rich and elite who can afford to pay big bucks for convenience – read queue jumping – and one for the rest of us.

    Our toady politicians, who incidentally have the best of the best when it comes to health care in Canada, are merely following the game plan – by outsourcing.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:32 pm |
  375. Darla (Edmonton, Canada)

    One correction to your comment ... the Canada does not have a "national" health care system ... our health care systems are run by each individual province. This is very different from the NHS in Great Britain.

    My monthly premium through my employer group plan for Alberta Health Care and Blue Cross supplement is under $25. Just this morning ... I stopped at the lab for a full panel of blood work ... didn't have to pull out my wallet at all and had cash for a stop a Starbuck's. Also, booked an appointment with my doctor for next Tuesday evening (that's after 6 pm - do US doctors have evening hours?)

    I'm a healthy, 45+ woman ... I moved back to Canada from the US because, frankly, the US health care system SUCKS ... and I was AFRAID to continue living and working in the US in case something happened and my health became compromised. It'll be a cold day in hell before I ever move back to the US ... I like you guys but I wouldn't trade what I've got up here in the North.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:32 pm |
  376. Ralph -Dallas, Texas

    Jack, it means that in a country of roughly 33 million people, there aren't enough physicians who specialize to go around. In our system, there is an over abundance of specialists.

    Being raised in Michigan, I know that it is only a 10-15 minute drive from Detroit to Windsor. I believe its simple economics 101. With our abundance of specialists, we can supply the demand of Ontario residents who would otherwise have to wait a few more weeks for a procedure in Canada.

    I am also a health care professional, and I believe we have a broken system where coordination of care between medical professionals amongst other issues need improvement. I think the Canadian system is better overall, it just lacks specialists.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:32 pm |
  377. Cy Montreal

    One important part of our system in Canada is:

    We do not have to get permission for treatment at any time.

    We only have to present our Medicare card at any hospital or clinic.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:32 pm |
  378. Carson

    Canadians have an average life expectancy 3 years more than that of Americans, and have an infant mortality rate two thirds that of the US. Who cares if they cross the border and the government covers it? It just shows their system works and they are healthier and happier.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:32 pm |
  379. Russ from Syracuse

    It means the US must be doing something right. Unfortunately, the health insurance executives are making more money than the doctors.
    And what about the drug companies? I wont even go there. Jack, wake me when its over.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:32 pm |
  380. Jonathan Lind

    Well, Jack, at least Canadian health care covered a procedure they didn't offer. When I went to India to get a hip resurfacing, my insurance wouldn't pay for the $6000 (in India) surgery that was not yet approved in the United States. They preferred paying three or four times that amount for a hip replacement surgery here. And we wonder why we can't control costs? Maybe our private insurance companies should pay for outsourcing to bring down costs!

    August 21, 2009 at 6:32 pm |
  381. Mark

    I think it's okay.

    Ryan from Wisconsin sort of missed the point. Canada paid for this guy's treatment. Amber from Austin pointed out that many Americans go to Canada for cheaper meds. Americans, with no system that provides for all, are the losers here.

    The point is not the quality of medical care that can be purchased in America but that medical care shouldn't be a for profit commodity.

    If we're the greatest country in the world with the best healthcare in the world then why shouldn't all Americans have access to it? Even, God forbid, poor people.

    Frankly I resent the government endlessly wasting our tax dollars on senseless wars that accomplish nothing. If only a portion of that money was redirected from wasteful warmongering to health and education, we might as a society actually be the great country we once were and delude ourselves into believing we still are.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:33 pm |
  382. Jim


    Can I join the Canada plan and get care at a U.S. hospital with the plan paying the bill? Sounds good to me. Nobody's knocking the technical quality of our doctors or medical facilities, it's their availability, or rather lack of availability to millions of Americans that causes our health care system to be so disrespected. American health insurers are predatory and parasitic. Everyone knows it. They care only about squeezing more money out of their clients. Our doctors, hospitals, and medical technology are the finest in the world. Let's give ALL Americans access to them.

    Reno, nevada

    August 21, 2009 at 6:33 pm |
  383. Sean Webb

    The Canadian system has it's problems, but overall it is very good. There are waiting lists for some tests and procedures and occasionally patients may be sent to the U.S. for treatment. But that is because you have some of the finest medical centres and doctors in the world. And the vast majority of our population lives close to the U.S. border. It's not much of a trip. I can be in Buffalo in less than two hours and get an MRI. When I worked for an American cruise ship line I did my medical examination in Miami prior to joining my ship. The question isn't quality, but access. In a very wealthy nation of over 300 million people nearly 46 million Americans are uninsured. The cost of not providing your own citizens healthcare is astounding. You lose hundreds of millions of dollars if not billions in lost GDP do to sick time and lower productivity by unhealthy workers. Your government bares the burden of patients who turn up to hospital emergency rooms suffering from ailments that could have been treated earlier if they had access to a family practitioner. You have to remember that there are also many Americans who come up to Canada for treatment and less expensive medications. The fact that Canadians choose to come to the U.S. for some treatments isn't an indication that our system is bad, but that our country will go to great lengths to help us be well. I hope that you will offer your own citizens the same quality of care.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:33 pm |
  384. Doug

    Jack !
    i think if you guys do one of your many poles you`ll see the numbers are very low and are mostly non emergency procedures. i`ve had a few surgerys none were emergencys but didnt wait more than a month once the decision was made.Some people just cant wait no matter what it is and it`s sad the republicans need to slam another country and our health care to hurt there own president,sure we pay hi taxes but our wages are good and ive never paid a sent for any surgery or care." that`s my taxes at work "

    Thanks from Winnipeg

    August 21, 2009 at 6:33 pm |
  385. Jon

    Jack, keep up the good work. It's time for a crusade against the crusaders of false belief, false war and false propaganda to justify the ends to their means. Nothing the former Secretary of the Homeland Security says in his book should come as a surprise. The main reason why most people with common sense missed it earlier was because of certain hatred developed after 911 towards all non-republican citizens, as well as bush v Gore [stolen election] Supreme Court verdict and the blatant disregard for the law of the land by bush-cheney. As a proud naturalized citizen who happens to be a U.S Military Veteran, my soul cries out for this nation. I, too like the crazies on the right, I want my country back. Can you please help drum up the prosecution beat so we can have justice for thousands of Soldiers murdered and millions of dollars stolen from the U.S. Treasury and from Iraq government? THANK YOU.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:33 pm |
  386. Wayne

    Most of these patients crossing to the States are usually wealthy people who are not patient enough to wait a reasonable amount of time and can pay up front. No matter what system you have there will always be people who will whine and not behave reasonably. For the vast majority the Canadian system works very well, the government will pay for services elsewhere if not available in Canada and most people are glad to pay the taxes to support this system that we will all eventually need. Best of all the fear of catastrophic financial ruin because of a major operation, is removed.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:33 pm |
  387. Steve

    It means that Canada has a more rational system than ours. In Waco, Texas, both of our local hospitals have MRI suites, when one would easily suffice. That's one of the reasons that U.S. health care is so expensive, while the Canadians are making rational use of international trade in services to keep their costs down.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:34 pm |
  388. Nathan in Kansas

    The fact is Canada shares the cost with all its citizens. The whole, "provide for the general welfare" thing. It seems like a good cost savings idea for Ontario Health. Where in the U.S. would insurance companies allow you to go to an outside provider and then pay %100 of the cost.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:34 pm |
  389. Liz

    I live in Toronto and I can tell you we have wonderful healthcare here. My obsterician, family doctor and specialists are all excellent. My mother-in-law has had 2 knee replacements and a hip replacement – absolutely no long waits like the American media is portraying. My sister-in-law and uncle were both treated with respect and compassion when they had cancer for and all the doctors were outstanding. I am proud of our healthcare. CNN, it is your responsibility to portray our healthcare system accurately to given the national conversation going on in your country. Please do your research and report evenly. Taking isolated cases and making them look like they are status quo is irresponsible journalism.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:34 pm |
  390. Jim

    It means Canadians have choice. We don't.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:34 pm |
  391. Shelley Alberta Canada

    I agree, the wait times here may seem unreasonable sometimes. But, 100% of Canadians are covered under our health care system. It does not apply just to the ones that are able to afford it or have employment coverage. Plus, our coverage for all Canadians is the same, no matter what the difference may be in personal finances. In Alberta, we have no monthly premiums, and previously premiums were only $88 per family/per month (whole family has equal coverage). Lower income, they pay less or nothing.....and get the same service as a higher income family. Plus, the wide range of coverage is HUGE...does not just cover the doctor's fees.

    The Canadian system leaves no one behind.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:34 pm |
  392. Gordon Wade

    Please do not refer to Canadian health care as 'free'. The doctors and other health care workers are paid by TAX dollars.. Every public health care system in the world is bankrupt or going bankrupt. Canada, The UK, France,The USA (Medicare/medicaid)..The efficincy of our current system can unquestionbly be improved via tort reform, supplying more medical scholarships so that we create more doctors, creating porotability and exchanges, Of course, we could solve most of our cost problems bymaking individuals become more responsible for their loust health. habits. 60% of health care costs are related to life style decisons, smoking, drinking, obesity, lack of exercise. None of the plans from any Democrat addresses all of these transparantly obvious reforms.and oh yes, who is going to pay for the health care of the 12 to 15 million illegals who no one is proposing to cover. ANSWER: the US tcitizens who will see his bill increased to pay for hospitals who rarely turn anyone away.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:36 pm |
  393. Ted From Canada

    To Shelly – I don't know what GI tests your Mother had to get done.

    But I had GI tests done here in Toronto, Canada and I didn't have to wait. I went to my family doctor, sent samples into the lab, and got my results shortly after.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:36 pm |
  394. Ron

    I am unclear how Canadians can be saying that they have to queue at the doctor's office, and always see someone new. I had the same doctor from birth to 12, and then the same doctor until I was 18 and moved to another city, where I once again had a regular family doctor. I suspect some of these people are the ones who are going to the walk-in clinics because they are too lazy to find a regular family doctor.

    To be fair I live in the US now, and am very well insured, the biggest change I have noticed in the health care systems is that I get excellent care..those who are just earning enough to get by...well they get what they pay for.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:36 pm |
  395. Dave from Toronto

    Hey Jack,

    Canada has excellent health care and some of the leading medical research and treatment facilities in the world. Canadians being sent accross the border for health care is very rare occurance. This is a long standing practice negotiated long ago to provide urgent care when these rare occaisions occur. It's simply a matter of financial prudence.

    But isn't the real point that our system provides the best patient care available to ALL, regardless of cost and pays for it in full.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:37 pm |
  396. Ann - Toronto, Canada

    While the Canadian government mandates health care for its citizens, let's get one thing straight. Each PROVINCIAL government is responsible for health care in their province. So if Ontario sends a patient to the US it is the provincial government paying the cost and not the Canadian government.

    In the case of someone going from Windsor, ON across the river to Detroit, MI, it would probably be the closest place for that procedure to be done, therefore the cheapest.

    I’m not saying the provincial health care systems can't be improved, any system can be. At least we have a system that provides for most everyone and they do provide a good service, rich or poor. I know from personal experience. When you go into emergency, nobody is worrying about whether you have insurance or not, they worry about you and your condition, and how to best treat it.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:37 pm |
  397. Alan

    This just goes to show that Mr. Cafferty, CNN and MSNBC don't pay very good attention to foreign news reports. Did no one (outside of FOX News) see the report a couple of days ago on the Canadian medical association's annual meeting where the president of the association publicly announced their system is in dire straights and poeple with money come to the US all the time to get health care? This is the first instance I recall though where the Canadian government reimbursed a US hospital for the services. It's usually the wealthier who don't want to wait 6 months for a consultation with a specialist and another 6 months to get the procedure done. Everyone may technically get 'free' healthcare (at the cost of high taxes), but it's rationed big time, just like it would be in the US.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:38 pm |
  398. Jack

    Nice try Cafferty. A quick search of Google maps shows that the most significant Canadian city close to Detroit is London, Ontario, population 352,395, which is about two hours away. In between is a large section of farmland. The closest major city is Toronto, which lies approximately four hours away from Detroit. Maybe these people just want to be treated near their homes. Don't make more of this convenient factoid than the obvious.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:38 pm |
  399. Michael hite

    That Canadians are coming to the US for health care means very little in the overall assessment of whether the Canadian or US system is better. It represents an extremely small part of the health care delivery equation in Canada so extrapolating from it is not valid. It has positive aspects because it indicates flexibility in the Canadian health care system when it allows individuals to get care elsewhere if there is a good reason, for example a temporary increase in wait times. Yes, it is true that some services have wait times. So what! This does not mean that everybody in Canada is waiting all of the time for every service. Canadians are getting timely, adequate care appropriate to their health circumstances.

    I am an average Canadian living in the Ottawa area of Canada. I have never been let down by my health system. I don't know anyone in Canada who has. This is the case with the vast, vast majority of Canadians. If I talk to the 47 million souls in the US who aren't covered for insurance or all those individuals that I have heard of who find out that their insurance companies have disqualified them for some heartless reason, will they be as positive about the US health care system? I get very angry sometimes listening to the facile debate down south about the Canadian system. I will put our system up for comparison against all others in terms of fairness of coverage, compassion in the delivery of care and cost effectiveness.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:38 pm |
  400. Charles

    If Canadians are coming to America for Health Care, then why does Obama and Pelosi want America's Health Care to be like Canada's? If Canada is coming here to get better, then it just goes to show how bad Canada's Universial Health Care System really is. The only people who don't seem to care how bad Universial Health Care is are Obama and Pelosi – they just want it for power.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:38 pm |
  401. Dr. Dan Heffez

    What this means quite clearly is that the infrastructure of healthcare delivery in Canada is not sufficient to meet the needs of the patients. Big surprise! Unless you have spoken to Canadian doctors or had family members attempt to access the system for care. Infact the Canadian Medical Association meeting this year will attempt to adress the unsustainability of the Canadian healthcare system and the disconnect between patients perception and the reality. By the way, will we be expected to head south to Mexico?

    August 21, 2009 at 6:38 pm |
  402. Brandon in Alaska

    It means that – wow – the world just isn't a perfect happy field of flowers and puppies, is it? Only a fool would suggest there is a perfect solution in which noone, rich or poor, will ever be wrongly denied service for whatever reason.

    I usually go to the same grocery store to buy food. If one day I decide I want to make a specialty dinner and need something they dont have, I go to a different store! Nothing against the original, you just can't always have the resources available all the time to suit everyones individual needs. Maybe not the best analogy, but hopefully you see my point.

    Brandon – Kodiak, AK

    August 21, 2009 at 6:38 pm |
  403. Mark Garrison

    The bottom line is that a Canadian can still get that service done and have it covered 100%. The fact that they may have to drive a little ways across a border is probably the last worry on a patients mind when they would otherwise be facing a medical bill in the tens of thousands of dollars if they were a United States citizen without health coverage. This situation means that while no health care system is perfect, Canada's system still beats our non-existent one.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:39 pm |
  404. michael carson

    This is not a case of a system that is not working. Everyone in this country has equal access.The issue is about timing. Canadian physicians are known to be some of the best trained in the world and the medical technology is second to none. What we need here is a `private component` that will improve access to those who can afford it. It will relieve much of the stress on our system. There is a need for what we refer to as 3 Ps - Public Private Partnerships. These have been proven to be cost effective and satisfies the government public policy issues and profit incentives for the private sector. But as `public` is becoming a tough sell for the President, `private` is political susicide to our politicians.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:39 pm |
  405. Ian in Montreal

    I lived and worked in the US for 6 yrs in the 90's and saw many more restrictions from my HMO than our system in Canada. When I returned to Canada, Ontario made me give up my Green Card because too many Canadians living in the US were returning to Canada for free excellent healthcare with little or no restrictions.

    All systems have problems but having experienced both I love our system and I know of no one who has had ot go to the US for healthcare – these are clearly exceptions. How many Americans travel abroad for specialized care?

    When you finally wise up and get a single payer system like the rest of the world then Ontario will have to build more hospitals – until then they should exploit your bloated commercial system..

    August 21, 2009 at 6:39 pm |
  406. Guido Sartor

    Re your comments about Canadians crossing to Detroit for treatment.. To me as a Canadian it shows that the doctor calls the shots, and that when we have a backlog on urgent care our govt CARES.
    G Sartor, Guelph, Ontario

    August 21, 2009 at 6:39 pm |
  407. Richard, Kankakee, IL.

    We should pay our docotors, a salary of 400k and our nurses a salary of 200k, there is no reason why they need to make more then that. Healthcare should have neven been made into a for profit business, how many have to die before you blockheads learn this simple lesson!

    August 21, 2009 at 6:39 pm |
  408. Peter Gladstone MD

    I get so tired of these specious arguments. A few of our patients getting earlier treatment in an overpriced, over-capacity system (USA) somehow justifies the millions of Americans who can't afford health care anywhere. For them the choice is be sick or be bankrupt. At least Canadians have a system that is willing to pay 5 times the reasonable rate, to have an angioplasty done. For the Americans without insurance, no one is offering to help. It's time the US joined the rest of the civalized world with a nationalized health care. It is a human right.
    By-the-way Windsor has an angioplasty service now.
    Toronto Ontario

    August 21, 2009 at 6:39 pm |
  409. Nick SLC Utah

    It means nothing. An article that reports that a number of Canadians are crossing the boarder for healthcare in Michigan doesn't constitute enough evidence to venture an argument for... well, anything. It's too small a sample. However, for those so inclined to make a hasty conclusion by contrasting the healthcare in America versus that in Canada, I suppose it offers a simple anecdote. We need more substantive propositions if we’re ever going to make better decisions!

    August 21, 2009 at 6:39 pm |
  410. David

    The only thing it says about Canadian healthcare is that they found a smart and cheaper way to solve their problems. People aren't crossing the border because they can't get services in Canada, they are crossing because their services have been extended to the U.S. Therefore, I still feel they are in better shape than we are.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:39 pm |
  411. Maher

    If there are fewer patients why build a multimillion facility. Just send them to existing ones. Why buy a tile cutting saw when I can rent one. for a day.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:39 pm |
  412. Gary (Trenton Ontario)

    It means that my single payer universal health care is working well. It means that we get to take advantage of better American infrastructure and Americans still get to collect huge profits from our government. The difference betwee our 2 countries is that health care will never force me into personal banruptcy. How many health care related bankruptcies were there in America last year alone?

    August 21, 2009 at 6:39 pm |
  413. Ruth

    I just spent five weeks in Canada. Everywhere I went I asked Canadians how they felt about their health care. All of the people I asked acknowledged there were problems (for example one person had to wait several weeks for a hernia operation), but none of them, NOT ONE, said they would change their system for ours. In fact they told stories of a doctor making a monthly house call to an elderly aunt, an ER doctor giving a woman his cell phone number so she could call him if her child became sicker in the middle of the night and of after-hours pediatric care easily available. I asked one woman if she could always see the same doctor. She said, "I've had the same doctor for 36 years." She went on to say that in emergency situation, she might have to see another doctor in the practice, but she had no trouble seeing a doctor.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:40 pm |
  414. Chris 2

    The case of Canadian clinics using U.S. labs is utterly unremarkable. Simply a practical-minded, procedural choice that has no bearing on the U.S. debate.
    On the other hand, Michael Moore's film is terrifically relevant here. He was not 100 percent honest, but the movie was well over 60 percent right - in other words, more reliable than any current politician on either side, and vastly more honest than the health-care corporate flacks. God knows they lied in 1993, as the following years proved. Can't any Americans remember that long??

    August 21, 2009 at 6:40 pm |
  415. Martha, R.N.

    How wonderful that the Canadian government will pay $38,000 for medical care obtained in another country! I doubt Medicare would do that! I've lived in Canada and had an excellent experience with getting good healthcare. Doctors make a lot more money here in the U.S. so it's no wonder they are adverse to changing the system.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:40 pm |
  416. Ashley from NH

    Canadians are crossing the border for American health CARE not American health care INSURANCE. There's a difference.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:40 pm |
  417. Sean from Alberta Canada

    It means that my country looks after its people in need of medical care, even if we have to go to another country to do it. I don't like the wait lines at the hospital but I like it more than talking with an insurance company...that’s like trying to pull teeth from a polar bear.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:40 pm |
  418. Buddhika Gebrial

    So you say the government covers the HC cost of it's citizens?
    And that if the government can't provide the HC at home you are sent over the border at no extra cost to you?

    Well that's terrible if you want a capitalist system with no regard for the well being of its citizens!

    I live in Vancouver, BC, and I love this system.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:40 pm |
  419. Austin

    Canadians have been coming over for years. This is no new procedure. Wait times in Canada are incredibly long, and can sometimes be a life or death situation. In Canada patients for procedures such as cardiac surgery, and other extensive procedures arent seen on a basis of who comes first but, who is likely to die the quickest gets cared for first.

    I live in Toronto and have considered driving to Buffalo NY numerous times for basic medical procedures. The wait times in a Toronto hospital for simple testing could be months long. Why not shell out $500 and go stateside like many other Canadians have been doing for years.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:40 pm |
  420. John Black Hills/SD

    You can get the same procedures in Canada as in the USA with quality, but like the USA, those who live in the sticks must travel to a hospital in a metropolis. Believe it or not, there are areas in the US that are 400-500 miles from a hospital who can preform a procedure not available there. Let's not forget Americans travelling on senior charter buses heading for Canada to fill their Rx's because they're cheap. Those who are against health care reform pick the two nations that have problems, but there are nations in Europe that have nationalized health care that offer care equal or better than many hospitals in the US. I've lived in Europe so I can say this as fact since I lived it. Not some tale regurgitated by angry republican conservatives who want the President to fail Americans. That's pitiful, and what's worse, it's B.S. without a factual skeleton to prop their crap up.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:41 pm |
  421. Faith

    I'm from Toronto Canada and while we are very proud of our health care system, we are not oblivious to the some of the problems that it has, but it's better than no health care at all. Wait times can be long for certain procedures locally so nearby services are utilized in the US when required. I hope that the American politicians ultimately agree to some form of universal health care coverage. All American citizens deserve it, health care should not be just for the rich.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:41 pm |
  422. Jim T Texas

    This is not "NEW", this has been going on for years, Doctor referrals. Bottom line is the Canadian Plan pays for the services. Who wouldn't want to go to a Hospital or Clinic that can treat your particular ailment without any hassle from your Insurance Co. and get it paid too.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:41 pm |
  423. Gerry

    I wish you guys across the border would stop dumping on Canada's Health Care system. I will never have to cross the border to get my health needs taken care of. I can stay here and,furthermore, get it for free.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:41 pm |
  424. Stan in Boston

    Canada is different from the US. But, if we have universal coverage, and the 100 million people who now have no or inadequate insurance suddenly are able to have access to health care, there might very well be not enough doctors and hospital beds to go around. But what is the alternative? Should those who now do not have access to health care not be able to live in good health so that the rich won't need to wait for their tummy tucks? Are we really that selfish a nation? By the we, there may not be the same shortages here as in Canada. I live in Massachusetts where there is universal coverage and I recently was able to schedule a non-emergency colonoscopy in two weeks. (of course my insurance is $18,000 per year because they passed universal coverage without cost cutting measures – a warning against doing things piecemeal.)

    August 21, 2009 at 6:41 pm |
  425. Craig in Alberta

    There are two reasons Canadians get health care in the U.S. One is that it is more cost effective in some cases to ship patients off to the U.S. than to build facilities to treat them here, which is relatively rare when compared to the number of people who are treated, and the other is that the waiting time is a bit shorter in the U.S.
    If we went to a pay as you go system in Canda, poor people would seek medical care less, the hospitals would be less full and the waiting times would lessen. Similarly, if there were universal heath care in the U.S., everone would be healthier, but would have to wait a little longer for treatment.
    There are trade-offs for everything, including health care.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:41 pm |
  426. Jim from Denver, CO

    I know Canadians living in the US who go home whenever they need to get health care service. Does this mean that the US system doesn't work? Your question just seems stupid to me because no one is talking about having a single payer system here in the US. The president is talking about having an optional not for profit insurance plan.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:53 pm |
  427. Barry

    Your article is almost farcical. You have decided to quote what are the rarest of instances.
    I am sure there are a number of American people who have sought medical procedures whether by choice or necessity in other countries.
    I lived 6 years in the United States before moving to Canada and have had experience with both medical systems.
    That a person who lives in what is recognised as one of the world's leading democracies can leave their family the legacy of hospital bills is appalling.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:53 pm |
  428. Ray in L.A.

    Jack, this just goes to show how little the drug companies and insurance companies care about us compared to their bottom line. They'll spend millions to prevent us from re-importing drugs from Canada or seeking treatments outside of our borders but they are delighted when the money flows the other way. It seems like the whole system is designed to do as little for us as possible while squeezing every dime they can out of our pockets. Healthcare in this country seems to be all take and no give.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:53 pm |
  429. Jessica (Hamilton, Ontario)

    As has been stated previously but Americans and Canadians alike, your statements, Jack, only go to prove that the Canadian system works. Sure I might have to wait for a NON-EMERGENCY procedure, but if there is an emergency, I have first-class service. Oh and the stuff I have to wait for? FREE. I'll wait and extra week or two if it means I save more than $10000 on a procedure or to see a specialist for exorbitant amounts of money that may or may not be covered due to the fact that my insurance company has all of the sudden come up with some pre-existing condition.

    Now, in terms of health care reform in the States? WHY are we talking about Canada? We watch the American media as they go in a frenzy over health care reform and as the criticisms of the Canadian system come up, I am left puzzled as to why Canada is drawn into this debate at all. Personally, I love my health care system and wouldn't trade it in a million years for anything resembling the American system. But what Obama is proposing is NOTHING like the Canadian system. I can only think that the hype surrounding Canada's system is from opponents of Obama's proposal but there are zero similarities. If I was American and I heard anyway argue that Obama's plan won't work because you have the Canadians only to look at, I would be extremely distrustful. One of two things have happened – that person is playing on popular misconceptions of the Canadian system or that person is wildly misinformed themselves about the Canadian system. Either or, please do your research before you eagerly gobble up what your media is trying to feed you.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:53 pm |