A Matter of Life and Death in Canada

Among the biggest lies circulating in the current health care debate is the gross distortion of universal health care in Canada, which has provided free health care for all citizens since 1961.

According to an ugly and vocal coalition of right wing commentators, health insurance lobbyists and anti-government zealots, the Canadian system routinely denies treatment, procedures and medication to patients who are forced to wait months or even years for appointments with government doctors.

These outrageous lies are debunked in Mended Hearts, a compelling new video that features Canadians describing their personal experience with their health care system. 

The 10-minute video, introduced by Canadian Vice President Dave Ritchie, features the parents of Elijah McKechnie, an infant born with hemophelia, who would have perished without the rapid diagnosis and treatment of a rare complication requiring costly medication. A similar patient in the U.S. could easily have been denied care by for-profit insurers.

The video also includes interviews with Canadian doctors and health care professionals, who express pride in their system and genuine sympathy for their American neighbors held hostage to a system that allows insurance companies to interfere with the doctor patient relationship.

“If my patient needs something I deem to be medically necessary, it’s covered by the insurance plan, period,” said Toronto family physician Danielle Martin. “I don’t waste my time justifying that to insurance companies. I get to spend my time providing clinical care to my patient.

“I have to say that I really feel for Americans that worry about the possibility of developing a catastrophic illness and what that might do to their families financially,” said Dr. Martin.  “I’m very grateful to live in a country where there’s no link between employment and insurance, so that when my patients get seriously sick they don’t have to worry about bankruptcy [and] they don’t have to worry about how they’re going to pay their medical bills.”