Dr. Danielle Martin explained the benefits of Canada’s health-care structure at a U.S. Senate committee in Washington on Tuesday.
“We do not have uninsured residents. We do not have different qualities of insurance depending on a person’s employment. We do not have an industry working to try to carve out different niches of the risk pool. This is a very important accomplishment and as we watch the debate unfold as to how to address the challenges you face, we are reminded daily of its significance,” said the family physician and vice-president of medical affairs and health system solutions at Women’s College Hospital in Toronto.
Martin said a lot of work is being done on reducing wait times in Canada.
“I do not presume to claim today that the Canadian system is perfect or that we do not face significant challenges,” she said. “The evidence is clear that those challenges do not stem from the single-payer nature of our system. Quite the contrary.”
When Republican Senator Richard Burr asked her if she knew how many Canadian patients on a waiting list die each year, Martin answered “I don’t sir, but I know there are 45,000 in America who die waiting because they don’t have insurance at all.”
Martin, who also holds a degree in public policy and is an assistant professor at the University of Toronto, told the senators that moving away from a single-payer system and introducing more private health care is not a solution and would likely exacerbate wait times in the public system by drawing health-care resources away from it.
Another Canadian also testified at the committee. Sally Pipes, who is now an American citizen and advocator for the free market, gave a very different interpretation of the Canadian system.
“If you’re looking for lessons from health-care systems abroad, Canada shows us exactly what not to do,” she told the senators, citing wait times and government control as major problems.
With files from CBC.
Dr. Danielle Martin, a Toronto doctor, defended Canada’s health-care system at a U.S. Senate committee in Washington on Tuesday.