August 10th, 2009
03:01 PM ET
5 years ago

Obama: Canadian health care model won't work in U.S.

Speaking in Mexico Monday, President Obama said a Canadian model for health care won't work in the United States.
Speaking in Mexico Monday, President Obama said a Canadian model for health care won't work in the United States.

GUADALAJRA, Mexico (CNN) - President Barack Obama said Monday that Canada's government-run health care model won't work in the United States.

"We've got to develop a uniquely American approach to this problem," Obama said at the final news conference of his North American summit with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Mexican President Felipe Calderon.

Opponents of health-care legislation in the U.S. House and Senate say it will lead to a single-payer system like the government-run program in Canada, with some warning the Canadian system means restrictions on treatments and long delays.

Obama noted the U.S. system is based on employers providing health insurance for most Americans. Throwing that out would be too radical an overhaul, he said.

"The Canadian model won't work in the United States," he said. However, he said he expects opponents of health-care legislation to continue to make what he called the misleading comparison between proposed U.S. legislation and Canada's system.

"I suspect that you Canadians are going to continue to get dragged into the debate," he said.


Filed under: Canada • Health care • President Obama
soundoff (209 Responses)
  1. Kevin in Ohio

    The Canadian model won't work here because there will be no other nearby country to go to to avoid the waits.

    August 10, 2009 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  2. Idiot_Pelosi

    What does OBAMA know? Nothing.

    The "Con Artist" sales speech with no details and no facts is not going to work. Saying one thing (when some of us people who know how to read have actually read the awful bill constructed by idiots like Waxman and Pelosi) isn't going to work.

    You can stand up, be articulate, read the tele-prompter, but we now know better Mr. Triple The Bush 8 yr deficit in 7 months.

    By the way, your administration is "actingly stupidly".

    August 10, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  3. Doug, New Jersey

    If it's not good enough for Nancy, Harry, and Barry, well then it is not good enough for us.

    August 10, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  4. Angry American

    Niether will yours, Obama!

    August 10, 2009 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  5. Fair is Fair

    Translation:

    "The Canadian system won't work here... YET. Give us some time for intimidation and thuggery, and we'll get there."

    August 10, 2009 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  6. Eleanor

    I am getting so sick and tired of hearing "won't" "can't", "no"! Here's and idea people! How about we start saying "will", "can", and "yes" to at least TRYING to improve a few of the broken messes in this country? All we hear every where is negativity, and it's getting to be pretty annoying...not to mention self-fulfilling. Do Americans really want America to fail? Because it can...and it WILL, if people don't start pulling together instead of allowing themselves to be divided and conquered by special interests that have no one's interest at heart but their own.

    August 10, 2009 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  7. Michelle

    To answer some people. I have EXCELLENT health care. I have no interest in wanting it changed. However, my Mom does not. My brother is a construction worker and has insurance off and on. I tried paying for my Mom's insurance, it cost $650 a month. I could not continue to pay her premiums. My Mother, brother and I, are USA citizens (I am not Latino, but the statement that I am USA citizens should be enough, for anyone wanting to make this a race issue). What I am trying to say, it that we need health care reform and affordable insurance. I want change, for my families and friends sake. I am looking at this beyong "a just me" issue. The big picture is that we ALL have loved one and need health care reform. It seems to me that if Obama does not do this, then it will fall to the waist side for another 12-16 years.

    August 10, 2009 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  8. Wake Up

    "Dragged into the debate". Sorry King Barack, United STATES of America is still a democracy. I would think the intelligent way would be to study similar models and use all facts before changing 1/6 of the economy. Remember, we were founded on limited federal govt.

    August 10, 2009 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  9. carlo

    He never said that it would work here CNN. That's a right wing talking point. He never said he wanted what Canada, France, or Britain has. If people would R-E-A-D, they wouldn't get suckered by the GOP.

    August 10, 2009 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  10. George

    I thought he said the time to discuss is over and it is now time for action?

    He's an empty suit.

    August 10, 2009 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  11. russell

    the only good thing about Canada is that the drug prices are reasonable. But the President and Congress won't touch that because the drug companies bribe them with campaign contributions on a regular basis. In fact, they even legislated a big give away–it is illegal for Medicare to try to negotiate drug prices under part D. The big losers hear will be the insurance companies (fine with most of us), the providers (not fine with most of us), and the general population.

    But the drug companies will be just fine.

    August 10, 2009 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  12. Grace

    Obama is right on this point-the Canadian healthcare model won't work in the U.S. and most of us see that. What we are trying to avoid is just that, but with the public option that is being proposed, there is the possibility that the competition will be too great and eliminate private insurance companies leaving us with a universal government-run healthcare system. Obama cannot guarantee/promise that that won't happen. I am confused as to his view on this when many times in the past Obama has said that he is for a single payer healthcare system. Even Barney Frank assured his liberal cronies that this bill was the first step towards a single payer healthcare system. I truly wonder what Obama's real intentions are. Maybe Obama is getting back in touch with what the Americans want. Reform healthcare without the public option and you will be sure that we won't have a single-payer system like Canada's. We want better and if we can take our time, we can get it right.

    August 10, 2009 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  13. Patrick

    I hope that is the last we ever hear of a single-payer system idea. Anyone that supported that idea shouldn't be allowed to vote.

    August 10, 2009 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  14. Kevin B

    President Obama has once again debunked the obviously trumped up deceptive, manipulative, fear driven tactics of the opponents of health care reform.

    All truley informed americans recognize the absolute mess the nations health care system is in and know it must be addressed in order for sustained economic recovery and to address growing deficits.

    The GOP and it's insurance lobby masters do not give a rat's patooty about America fiscal future.

    The proof is in thier past actions which have been "profits over people" as a political philosophy.

    Do not be duped into voting against your family's interest by these rich insurance companies and thier GOP goons.

    August 10, 2009 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  15. MatthewDetroit

    In Canada people still MUST pay out of pocket to get any real healthcare.
    This is ALL just a MONEY GRAB.
    The goverment wants to take control of as many tax dollars as they can to then spend it where they see fit.
    STOP TAKING OUR MONEY.
    STAY OUT OF HEALTHCARE.
    STOP PROMISING PEOPLE THE WORLD.
    REALITY IS THAT YOU HAVE TO WORK AND YOU HAVE TO PAY YOUR OWN BILLS.
    Stop trying to take control of our money.
    Cut Spending.
    Cut your budgets.
    CUT YOUR PAYROLLS.
    CUT THE AMOUNT OF PEOPLE WORKING IN GOVERMENT.
    CUT THE 550 MILLION for new G5's for congress.
    STOP SPENDING OUR MONEY.

    August 10, 2009 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  16. illinoistom

    I am confused. The President has been on the record for over a decade publicly supporting Canadian style single payer, but now says it won't work for the U.S. Has he had some sort of epiphany, or is he now prevaricating? By the way, my Canadian friends will vouch for single payer not working in America, as it certainly doesn't work for them in Canada.

    August 10, 2009 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  17. A. Goodwin

    Obama is right. But, of course – people on the right will continue to lie and to mislead others. I guess that's part of the new Republican platform.

    August 10, 2009 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  18. MatthewDetroit

    EVERY SINGLE company in America has to cut spending.
    THE CEO of GM was fired because he did not cut spending fast enough.
    They gave them all a hard time for flying on corporate jets.
    But, Then congress with the president, orders 550 million in new G5 Planes. What the heck is going on.
    WE ALL MADE CUTS.
    CONGRESS AND THE GOVERMENT ALL NEED TO TAKE PAY CUTS.
    THEY NEED TO CUT SPENDING.
    THEY NEED TO CUT BUDGETS.
    YOU DONT HAVE THE MONEY SO STOP SPENDING.

    August 10, 2009 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  19. Kevin B

    President Obama has once again debunked the obviously trumped up deceptive, manipulative, fear driven tactics of the opponents of health care reform.

    All truley informed americans recognize the absolute mess the nations health care system is in and know it must be addressed in order for sustained economic recovery and to address growing deficits and the overall health of our country.

    August 10, 2009 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  20. George

    And I never said that I want a single payer system. Well at least I haven't said it recently. Well, I haven't said it this year, in public. Well, at least I don't want people to know that is what I want, that is why I choose my words carefully.

    Kool-aid anyone?

    August 10, 2009 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  21. Warren

    "You Canadians" What is that supposed to mean?

    August 10, 2009 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  22. Lisa P

    I very much disagree with President Obama on this. The problem is the huge vested interest the private insurance companies have in continuing our current inefficient system, not some very recent "tradition" of employer-based plans. At this point I would guess that most employers would be happy to chuck the responsibility, most health care providers would prefer a simpler reimbursement scheme, and for someone like me with moderate health care needs it probably won't make any difference. Win-Win-Break Even. The only losers are the big money bloodsuckers who have been skimming 39% off the top for "administrative costs" all these years.

    August 10, 2009 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  23. Success

    OH GOD! Our country is blessed with a very dynamic personality at the helm of affairs. Keep on the good work Mr President,WE THE "REAL PATRIOTS" ARE SOLIDLY BEHIND YOU!

    August 10, 2009 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  24. Jon

    Employer provided health care is part of the problem, so of course Obama would not adress it. He's only looking for solutions to the symptoms, not the cause.

    August 10, 2009 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  25. Allen, Cypress, Texas

    What a direct and honest assessment or analysis of the healthcare debate offered by the POTUS. I guess the Right – WIng Nuts swill rather believe the healthcare demagogues (Insurance Companies and Srah Palin) rather than the President of the United States.

    August 10, 2009 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
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