August 10th, 2009
03:01 PM ET
9 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. Deep South

    The Canadian health care system is consistently ranked higher than health care in the US anyway, so I wonder why so many people are losing thier minds? After the Canadian government spends millions to train Canadian doctors they move to the US for a "for profit" pay – living next door to the US is a detriment to the Canadian health care system, not a fall back. I know it is hard for some Americans to believe the US does not have the best of everything.

    August 10, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  2. Chris W

    Sounds like Obama now wants health insurance reform, and not real health care reform. A single payer system is the only real way to reform health care to ensure access for all and simplify an already highly regulated industry. What we'll end up with is a watered down version which will add more regulation and bureaucracy and do nothing but add to the costs of health care. If the legal/malpractice end of the equation isn't also reformed and citizens don't take responsibility for their own health by living healthier lives, any "reform" is just a bandaid.

    For those who criticize the Canadian system, what do you know about it really? Have you polled a cross-section of Canadian citizens and dug deep for real data, or are you just parroting bits and pieces of what you hear that are bad, which of course, can be said about our health care system?

    August 10, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  3. Marty, Grand Rapids MI

    Actually, it would work. It's just not politically viable right now because the American people are too stupid. The insurance companies own this country.

    BTW, the CBO said the public health plan would NOT take over health care. Any say otherwise is republican spin. I personally wish it would take over health care as it's the only true way to reduce cost. 97% of premiums go to health care for Medicare. 78% of premiums go to health care from for profit health care. I see a quick way to save 19% on health care.

    August 10, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  4. Tim

    IF Obama wants to preserve the employer based health coverage, he must discontinue the talk of having the millionaire + group to pay for all of it, afterall, these are the individuals/companies that are already covering their employees. If they are penalized around 8% for making a million + dollars, then the only way to earn that money back is to eliminate covering their employees. This group of entrepenuers and business people are not stupid, and do not want to be taken advantage of. This will lead to a single pay system.

    Why don't we get the successful business people of this country together and solve this? We are financially responsible and understand profits and losses, and we don't spend more than what we take in, like the government.

    Which part of this is confusing to Congress and Obama?

    August 10, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  5. Lisa

    Well of course the Canadian model won't work here in the U.S. Do you honestly believe that the insurance giants are going to relinquish their hold on the financial leashes they have around our "elected" officials necks? Why in the world would anyone think that after decades of doing business this way that they would just sheepishly grin at us and say "Well, you caught us. Guess we're going to have to behave now and start doing the right thing ...." ??!!!

    Sorry, but that falls under the category:
    ***What Color Is The Sky In Your World?***

    August 10, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  6. unshrub

    Our health care system is really good (sic)! My wife and I have great insurance but it still takes me 2 months to see our family doctor and 4 months to see a specialist. So tell me why again is our system better than Canada.

    August 10, 2009 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  7. patNY

    France – rated the best in terms of health care and coverage.
    France – her people are healthier than us, they live longer than us, and their birth mortality rate is much lower than ours.
    France – hybrid public-private system.

    So, why not France?

    August 10, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  8. RH

    There's only one thing in this world less trustworthy than government: insurance.

    August 10, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  9. Katie B in NC

    No, single payer won't work in the U.S., but a public option will.

    How about this compromise? I'll give you TORT REFORM if you give me a PUBLIC OPTION. Deal?

    August 10, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  10. Tsshhhh

    Sometimes I think he's right. I like what he says here. I don't like that the current 'house plan' fines people who don't want any part of health insurance. I'm 42 and my wife is 35. We're both self employed, pay plenty of taxes and don't trust insurance companies. Penalizing people who don't want a policy is embarrassing to his plan. It makes him look like a dictator. I really don't like that mental picture, as I voted for the guy.

    August 10, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  11. g canada

    my wife had a kidney transplant in 1990 and one in 2008 did not get a bill in the mail did not have to have morgan my house or spend life savings she doing just fine try that in the usa

    August 10, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |

    Obama only wants his agenda.

    The Obama Socialistic Republic of Non-America is what he wants as Obama and his Democrate goonies destroy and control your life.

    Obama is close to another from Germany, read the health care bill.

    August 10, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  13. donna

    All you Americans ever hear about our system seems to come from bad mouthing people who complain about a hangnail! There is nothing wrong here and we do not have the long waits you seem to think we do. I got a knee replacement in 6 weeks and it did not cost me a dime. We may pay a little more in taxes, but my brother is an American and he pays 1200 dollars a month for health care and the same for his wife. That more than equal anything we pay in taxes. Our system as a whole works fine. Stop commenting on something you know nothing about or heard from " somebody " who heard from "somebody" Those adds you have seen on TV are not the complete truth! Happy in Canada and not in debt because of health care prices.

    August 10, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  14. Really

    I wonder if he pauses often in his speech because he even can't always believe what the telepromter is telling him to say. Stay the course Mr. President. Blah blah blah. If he jams this through, he should be impeached for abuse of power.

    August 10, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  15. seebofubar

    Anyone who believes anything that this self serving hipocrite says is either nuts or brain dead. Wake up!!!!! We picked the wrong guy for this job, he has no experience and the work ethic of a Gypsy. Just keep him in the Oval office with the door closed and hope for better in 2012.

    August 10, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  16. Lisa

    For those that aren't sure who to believe as to whether this would be far better than the system we have in place now or that moving to Universal Healthcare means the raprure is upon us, I recommend checking out Michael Moore's movie "Sicko".

    "Eye-opening" doesn't even begin to cover it ......

    August 10, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  17. Mr Magoo

    Ok the bush speech writers on this blog are very upset. The president must be doing the right thing, lol.
    To bad Kevin in Ohio and the rest of you idiots.

    BTW Have you idiots ever read any of bills cheney forced down our throats? bush was a puppet with half a brain, because of his drug use, so I don't blame him.

    August 10, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  18. Bob in Pa

    That's right, and either will any other model currently employed around the world.

    August 10, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  19. Chris W

    Of course it's the health insurance industry that doesn't want change, because its executives and shareholders benefit from the status quo. Health ins execs earn huge salaries, big bonuses, and shareholder equity. Why in the world would they want things to change?

    August 10, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  20. Julie

    Seems many people haven't had to deal with our health insurance HMOs lately. There are forms to fill out, authorizations to seek, and time delays in getting these authorizations. And you're still at the whim of the insurance company as to whether they think that treatment is medically necessary for you. Really, I work in the healthcare industry and the general lack of understanding by the public of how our system works is astonishing. People believe the "sound bite" ads more than the actual workings of our system.

    August 10, 2009 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  21. Allen, Cypress, Texas

    Idiot Pelosi:
    You are the idiot. If not, you would have known that Bush left a deficit of $1.3 trillion when he inherited a surplus of $5.6trillion from the Clinton administration. Mr.or Mrs. Stupid or whatever gender you are, Obama has only added about $700billion because of the stimulus package bill because he had to spend the money to get us out the big mess your favorite son, Dummy Bush left to bailout the banks, and the financial insitutions. I did not like the bailout of banks and all those bloodsuckers who stole our retirement investments, however, if he hadn't done that, we'll be in a lot worse situation than we're now. So, Mr Idiot, check your information before posting anything on this blog. I'm sure you've heard the phrase, "You have to spend money to make money" For evidence, Look at the stock market.

    August 10, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  22. Steve

    This position is, indeed, unfortunate. Studies show that, for the same medical condition, the clinical outcomes (morbidity and mortality) for patients in the Canadian Healthcare system were superior to American patients. One of the biggest differences if that all of the healthcare provided in the Canadian system was from not-for-profit hospitals, which the majority in the US was in for-profit hospitals. Healthcare spending in the US is approx. 16% of GDP but only 10% in Canada, so it is also less expensive. The fact is that the politics of healthcare reform in the US are why the Canadian model won't work...

    August 10, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  23. Healthy Canuck

    Too bad as Canada spends far less GDP than we do, has a lower infant mortality rate and longer life expectancy. So what's not to like? Nothing, if you're not a drug company, insurance company, malpractice attorney, "for profit" hospital or a right wing "whack job".

    August 10, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  24. B Rutschke

    (calmly drinks his Canadian Kool-aid)

    Please get back to me when one of you blog-addicted obesities gets diagnosed with diabetes, and suddenly finds themselves shouldered with an $800/month medical expense. I'll be more than amused to listen to your pontifications on the need to limit government intervention in health care at that point.

    August 10, 2009 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  25. a health economist

    Wow, people just don't get it. Part of the reason we have incredibly high (and increasing) health care costs in this country is because we have limited waiting times. If you want to be able to have any procedure at the drop of the hat you need to have a large supply of highly-trained, highly-paid health care workers that spend a lot of their time DOING NOTHING.

    Rationing happens every day in the US health care system by providers and insurers. We pay for the uninsured by them going to the ER and having the costs shifted to those with insurance, thus increasing their premiums. Healthy people with private insurance pay more than they should because they are footing the bill of the insurers administrative costs of identifying people with pre-existing conditions. Physcians do unneeded tests just to cover themselves from possible malpractise suits. Employer based health insurance creates job lock and limits the labor force from flowing from one region/sector to another thus making the overall economy less efficient.

    Our health care system is far, far from perfect.

    August 10, 2009 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
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