Canada's health care is "Sicko"
In "Sicko," Michael Moore uses a clip of my appearance earlier this year on "The O'Reilly Factor" to introduce a segment on the glories of Canadian health care.Not covered is how Canada has been free riding on the US investments in new drugs which Canadians only pay the production cost and not the developmental costs which is borne by US patients and insurance companies. If we had a similar system and similar pricing drug innovation would be non existent. This past week has also demonstrated the perils of the UK's socialized medicine too.
Moore adores the Canadian system. I do not.
I am a new American, but I grew up and worked for many years in Canada. And I know the health care system of my native country much more intimately than does Moore. There's a good reason why my former countrymen with the money to do so either use the services of a booming industry of illegal private clinics, or come to America to take advantage of the health care that Moore denounces.
Government-run health care in Canada inevitably resolves into a dehumanizing system of triage, where the weak and the elderly are hastened to their fates by actuarial calculation. Having fought the Canadian health care bureaucracy on behalf of my ailing mother just two years ago - she was too old, and too sick, to merit the highest quality care in the government's eyes - I can honestly say that Moore's preferred health care system is something I wouldn't wish on him.
In 1999, my uncle was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. If he'd lived in America, the miracle drug Rituxan might have saved him. But Rituxan wasn't approved for use in Canada, and he lost his battle with cancer.
But don't take my word for it: Even the Toronto Star agrees that Moore's endorsement of Canadian health care is overwrought and factually challenged. And the Star is considered a left-wing newspaper, even by Canadian standards.
Moore further claimed that the infamously long waiting lists in Canada are merely a reflection of the fact that Canadians have a longer life expectancy than Americans, and that the sterling system is swamped by too many Canadians who live too long.
Canada's media know better. In 2006, the average wait time from seeing a primary care doctor to getting treatment by a specialist was more than four months. Out of a population of 32 million, there are about 3.2 million Canadians trying to get a primary care doctor. Today, according to the OECD, Canada ranks 24th out of 28 major industrialized countries in doctors per thousand people.
Moore put me, fleetingly, into "Sicko" as an example of an American who doesn't understand the Canadian health care system. He couldn't be more wrong. I've personally endured the creeping disaster of Canadian health care. Most unlike him, I'm willing to tell the truth about it.