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. indyphil

    The lies about the Canadian system continue. The waiting periods are no longer than the american system. It costs less to run. It provides a longer expected life span. Fewer infant deaths per 1,000 live births, and fewer deaths in general from preventable deseases. More docters per person than the US. Whats's not to like? Somebody please actually do the research, or at least stop believing the lies that are being perpatrated on the public.

    August 10, 2009 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  2. Jefe

    I think we need to realize that a large part of the cost of this should be offset by the savings realized (between state payments and the increased cost of care for those who pay), because of those people who currently go to the emergency room for the sniffles, etc.

    For the government – the primary problem we have is not that some are lacking insurance coverage, but that the costs have skyrocketed out of control in general.

    33 Year Old, Healthy Male: Employer pays $7k, employee pays $1600. Annual exam with bloodwork: Out of pocket cost: $400. Absolutely ridiculous. I don't have HMO, because I tried that and ended up with bad doctors who are as good as diagnosing injuries and illness as a goldfish is at climbing a tree.

    August 10, 2009 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  3. Brian, Pensacola

    whoa... so once again an elected official who attempts to make corrective action is demonized.. but one who attempted to stay the course is cannonized... get real.. I love all people but this is more of rejection of the man (who by the way does not actually write the laws, sponsors the laws, or reconciles them, the POTUS only signs them or vetoes them)... once again true intellectual debate drowned out by ignorance and tomfoolery!!!

    August 10, 2009 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  4. Kathy

    This guy is a complete idiot. He's breaking our country more and more everyday. Give us a break. Stop throwing tantrums when we the people don't agree with you. Grow up and go away!

    August 10, 2009 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  5. Scott from Ontario

    My personal experience with Canadian health care in the last year or so....
    My grandfather had a pacemaker put in last month. Wait time...less than a month. He was not high priority.
    My other grandfather had a defibrilator installed in his chest. These cost $25,000. Cost to him $0. No wait time.
    I had kidney stones last year. No waiting at the emergency room. had scans taken etc. Cost to me $0.
    Grandparents get $300-$400 in prescriptions per month. Cost to them...$4.
    I make $44,000/year. Paid about $7000 income tax.

    August 10, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  6. Peter-Canada

    In the last 25 years I have received FREE the following excellent medical care. I can only pray and hope that ALL Americans receive the same care as we have up here in Canada.

    Here is a small sample of my medical file over the last 25 years:

    1) appendix removal
    2) ambulance services
    3) hospital stay
    4) catharact surgery ( both eyes over 2 years )
    5) P.A.D. diagnoses and ongoing treatment
    6) free eye examinations one a year
    7) free physical exams once or twice a year ormore if needed
    8) blood/urine and stool samples when required
    9) as a Senior (70) I now pay $100.00 once a year for all my medications, inclusing Lipitor etc.
    10) free referrals to a specialist if needed

    Look people, all FREE.....how's that for healthcare, and yeah so what, if our Goverment ( National and Provincial ) run it, so what? It works for me just fine folks, just fine.

    August 10, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  7. Indigo4

    Hmm...maybe France, England and Canada is preferable.

    On the World Health Organization (WHO) list of healthcare systems, France is #1, England is #18 and Canada is # 30. All beat the U.S. healthcare which is ranked #37.

    August 10, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  8. Aaron owings mills md

    President Obama was a single-payer supporter and made statements about his advocacy of the single-payer plan when he was an Illinois Senator and presidential candidate. Now he has backed away from his previous position on this issue and is supporting an employer based health reform strategy. I understand that he did this for reasons of political expediancy. I still believe that he privately supports the single-payer approach, but cannot publicly do so for the reason that it is politically unfeasible due to the entrentched special interests in the healthcare industry. However, President Obama at least supports a Robust Public Option and I hope that he continues to support this option and sign healthcare legislation that includes it.

    August 10, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  9. Obama Victim

    looks like Barry is backing away from the public option..............even he know that is D O A

    August 10, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  10. Bob of Lompoc

    There is not one piece of evidence that ANYONE on the Democratric side wanted a "Government Run Health Plan". That is Republican propaganda, not any more accurate than Palin's stupid implication that her Special Needs son Trig will be put to death by "Government Death Panels". What a bunch of Moose manure !

    August 10, 2009 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  11. thomas lybbert

    Canada has 30 million people and after 10 years everybody except the govt has to use it. They have rationing, there is extensive wait times. One Canadian doctor said many times dental patients go home and have people pull their tooth. America has 300 million plus and when every body is forced onto national health expect the pigs in congress who created this monstrosity. There will be long waiting periods and after spending 6 trillion dollars creating this bad joke there will be rationing. The government people running health will cut service to the elderly. obama has lied to the people, he has broken the law already. Why should this be any different? By the way CNN if you are going to report me to obama's KGB be sure to spell the name correctly, Comrade chairman obama does not like sloppy work

    August 10, 2009 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  12. Mike in LR

    If only we could trust what he says. He lies with such ease it's so hard to believe anything he says.

    Obobo blew it on this. Instead of leading the debate he chose to be aloof and run his responses like a campaign. Attacking U.S. citizens for doing what the democrats did ad nauseum for the last 8 years. Now it's unAmerican. Laughable!!

    This is BO's WMD moment.

    August 10, 2009 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  13. Mike

    I will support Obamacare when all the Politicians in Washington switch their families to the government plan That will make a statement that the Washington suits are willing to bet their families health on this supposed great plan.

    The real problem is none of the Democrats in the House or Senate have come out and said they would sign up their family on it, which tells you they want to pass an agenda, not a Health Care reform.

    August 10, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  14. Eric

    The Canadian health care system would work in the US it's just that that special interests have a stranglehold over our government.

    Realistically the single payer system is the best way to accomplish goals of health care- access and cost effectiveness. Health insurers are middlemen- nothing more- they add adminstrative costs and bureaucracy and every dollar of profit is an added cost to the consumer.

    Anyone concerned about the wait for care- I have private insurance through my employer and I waited 5 weeks to get an appointment and on top of the hundreds of dollars that come out of my check each year for health coverage I paid a co pay out of pocket. For what?

    Anyone against health care reform is either a health insurance lobbyist or benefactor or just completely out of touch with the situation. The fear people have is based on lies.

    August 10, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  15. Peggy - TX

    President Obama is exactly correct in the need for health care reform. His only mistake has been to let Congress take the lead and they failed, so the Republicans rush to fill the void with lies as they are in the wrong on every issue.

    What is really, really sad, is that the many protestors seen yelling at town hall meetings are promoting positions that are obviously against their own self interest, and the interst of their children. The Republicans should be ashamed for feeding these people lies, its like giving “poisonous Kool-Aid” to the faithful.

    August 10, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  16. Kentucky

    Obama and the Congress should be under the same policies that Americans have to purchase. There would be alot of members of Congress with pre existing conditions who could not purchase health insurance to protect their families and assets from disaster.
    But they dont live under the same rules as I do. I am a small business owner with a pre existing condition and cannot purchase insurance because of it. Im sick of all of the politicians who do not want to change anything to help us out here.

    August 10, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  17. I know what I am talking about....

    The exagerations about the Candian systems failings is laughable. I have lived in both the US and Canada. I can tell you that care in both countries is excellent and the wait times for special testing etc.. comparable. The holier than thou view Americans have of their system is fed by the Insurance Companies and Providers who stand to lose billions if a single payer system is ever implemented.

    In Canada, or any other single payer system for that matter, there are no 'kitchen table' discussions about weather or not you can afford to get this test or that one. You just do it. Wouldn't that be nice for a change.

    August 10, 2009 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  18. libertarian

    The current system is BROKEN and is NOT SUSTAINABLE. The company I work for can no longer sustain the level of contribution we've done in the past. Employees used to look at our plan as a major incentive to work for us. However, this was the year that broke the bank. Starting in 2010, we will ask employees to pick up a major share of the health care costs.

    So, those people out there that are happy with their plan now may not be so happy very soon. I suspect my company is not the only one making this difficult choice.

    August 10, 2009 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  19. indy 08

    It's amazing how the right wing that demonizes socialized medicine will not go on record to oppose the VA system, Medicare and Medicaid. Pres Obama, the rational people are behind your efforts for healthcare reform, ignore the noise.

    August 10, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  20. bsmith171

    what would obama know about health care?

    he was an affirmative action student at harvard law,
    unable to get in on his own qualifications.

    what job has he ever held that would give him any knowledge.

    he only repeats what AXELROD puts on his teleprompter.

    DAVID AXELROD is running the united states government.

    August 10, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  21. cora

    plz my president don't CONFUSE me.

    August 10, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  22. Sian

    II find it hard to believe that it requires so mcuh come up with a solution to aproblem that affects this entire country. Meanwhile we are only too willing to pack medical supplies off to "less fortuante countries and take to the picket line for human rights. Aaah the hyprocisy

    August 10, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  23. montag24

    Health care reform will never happen in the United States because the corporations who run this country won't allow it.

    And Obama the Corporatist won't lft a finger against Wall Street – now or ever. We should have elected Ralph Nader when we had the chance.

    We Americans are screwed.

    August 10, 2009 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  24. Claudia in Houson

    It's not difficult to understand Obama's healthcare reform if one is willing to listen, read and think for themselves instead of depending on the misinformed to misinform. That's exactly why Palin is asking people to tone it down because she misinformed people about her son Trig who is covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act and is not part of healthcare reform, plus she gets a disability check every month for him.

    August 10, 2009 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  25. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    OK, right-wing swifties, now pick another country to compare the health care plan to – say, Switzerland. Go ahead, I dare you. I lived there for 5½ years and had it, but go ahead and compare it, I dare you!!!

    But this time try something novel for your attacks – use facts, not Limbaugh's speaking points.

    August 10, 2009 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
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