Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., traveled to Canada in late October. His goal? To highlight the supposed benefits of that nation’s single-payer healthcare system. “How is it that here in Canada, they provide quality health care to all people … and they do it for half the cost?” he asked rhetorically.
If Sanders took off his rose-colored glasses, he’d see that Canada doesn’t provide “quality” care to all people. And it only keeps costs low by rationing who can see doctors and obtain treatment.
That’s hardly a model Americans should envy.
The Vermont socialist is willfully oblivious to the Canadian system’s shortcomings. He went so far as to deny “there is any debate that the quality of care is as good or better than the United States.”
If Canada’s healthcare system was really as top-notch as Sanders claims, why do so many Canadians flee the country to obtain treatment? A Fraser Institute report from this summer finds that more than 63,000 Canadians sought medical treatment elsewhere in the world in 2016.
Could it have something to do with Canada’s atrociously long wait times? When Canadian patients receive referrals from general practitioners, they must wait 20 weeks, on average, until specialists treat them. Here in the United States, waiting five months for treatment is unheard-of.
The problem isn’t limited to specialist care. One-in-five Canadians must wait longer than a week to see a family doctor. About three-in-ten wait more than four hours at emergency departments. The crisis is so widespread that #CanadaWAITS is trending on Twitter.
Canada’s rationed care is the predictable result of a healthcare system funded and administered by government bureaucrats. Americans mustn’t let Sanders fool them into adopting a system that guarantees free, universal access to a waitlist.