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. sharon

    any one who is rich and greedy and does not want regular people to health care and a choice..........will be against the health choice plan.

    August 10, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  2. no more obama

    Everytime Obama opens his stupid mouth the wondercates have to rush in and defend him

    August 10, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  3. Sam Sixpack

    If we had the Canadian system, his fat, rich, greedy friends couldn't suck all the money out of it. He's a sock puppet being used by the ultra-rich to rob you and me - again.

    August 10, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  4. Ignorance is bliss

    The most important thing to accomplish for true health care reform is a big increase in profits for insurance companies, drug companies, doctors and hospitals, Dont worry about the middle class of America because they mean nothing in this new era of free trade free market profiteering.
    I am sure our elected reps will take care of increasing the profit margins, they always do so in a bi partisan manner.

    August 10, 2009 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  5. RobK

    Employer-provided health care is what got us in this mess. The best solution is for people to be able to get private insurance from anywhere in the country to cover catastrophic illnesses and accidents. And then pay doctors directly for everything else. That way you don't lose your coverage because you switch jobs. And people will comparison shop for non-emergency health care. States don't want to open up coverage to anywhere in the US because then they can't micromanage insurance companies and do their social engineering.

    August 10, 2009 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  6. Drooling Liberal

    Keep in mind Canada spends next to nothing on military and defense.

    Why?

    B/c big brother USA is here to protect them. Canada could get taken over by 10 men with billy clubs without the USA. All that extra $$ not spent on military can be used for healthcare.

    However, as a SUPER POWER NATION, we can't afford such luxuaries.

    August 10, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  7. Four and The Door

    The problem is, how does he think a not-for-profit organization funded by the people who print money actually make the health care business competitive? It's not a level playing field. Surely there are some economists they can consult to explain how fair competition works to drive prices down.

    In my business we provide health insurance to all full time employees. I am pleased with what we are able to buy for them because of competition in the insurance market. But if my taxes go up to pay for gov't health care for everyone, guess what coverage my employees get next year? ObamaCare.

    August 10, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  8. g canada

    when the employers quiet paying health care whitch will happen in the next five years these people will be crying for universal health care

    August 10, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  9. SCOTT from C

    Being Canadian, I think it only fair to explain to some of you that the
    amount of disinformation that is floating freely out there is making me ill. Our system is not quite as bad as the right wing wants you to believe. If you took a poll, about 98% of our population would rather
    work within our system as opposed to yours. The "haves and the have lots" in Canada are still very much concerned with the "have less and have nots" in our society.

    August 10, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  10. Sam Sixpack

    As long as even one for-profit insurance company remains in the deal, they will systematically suck as much money out of you and me as is inhumanly possible.

    This deal is no fix. It is a giant lie designed to steal more money than ever from you for the benifit of an elite few.

    August 10, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  11. RobK

    What do Canadians pay in income tax? Canada has also convinced the drug companies to put caps on their medicines, which US patients have to make up for. The US's for-profit R&D machine has also produced most of the break-throughs in medicine that the other socialist countries take advantage of.

    August 10, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  12. ran

    A single payer non-profit is the only true way to get health care under control. As long as any health care option is for profit cost will never go down.

    I don't know about you but my health is not up for profit.

    I refuse to buy health insurance as long as some of the money is going for multimillion $ salaries/ bonuses to executives or dividends for shareholders or insurance companies' private jets. None of the above would apply to a non-profit. Just think how much your premiums could be reduces with a non-profit single payer. There be only one form to fill out and none of the above luxuries would come out of your premiums.

    More money for health care, less overhead that is what you get with a single payer non-profit.

    August 10, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  13. Brad Johnson

    I haven't been led by any talking points from either side in this issue. I don't believe that this is some sort of clandestine conspiracy on the part of either side as well. I do believe that there are sincere people on both sides of the isle that believe their views are correct or best, given the current situation. And yet...
    The only way to reduce the cost of health care is to pay health providers (including hospitals, doctors, nurses, office support staff and others) less, or reduce staff (this means job loss) or reduce services. If we believe that insurance companies, health professionals or service providers are making some sort of "windfall" profits then I would suggest investing in them (the majority are publicly held institutions). If we believe that these jobs pay too much then I would recommend applying for those jobs. A free market, though flawed in its rewards for greed, is still the best and most naturally responsive economic system as long as the news and information continues to be generally truthful.

    August 10, 2009 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  14. Terry from West Texas

    The Canadian model would work just fine in the US. It is not politically do-able, however. Corporate America would rather see Americans dying in the streets than to give up a nickel of profits, and since they have bought and paid for a majority of Congress, they will have their way on this.

    The goal of the American health care system is health, not income. If everyone in America is receiving appropriate care, then we have a successful system. If they do not, then our system is a failure. I do not care who pays for it, who delivers it, and who profits from it as long as it works.

    Our current system does not work. My insurance company tells me what doctor to go to and what medication I can take. They don't care whether I'm healthy or dead as long as they get a premium.

    August 10, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  15. walleye

    The only medical "death squads" are the insurance companies that deny patients the care they need. I suggest everyone watch the movie "The Rainmaker" with Matt Damon and Danny DeVito to understand how these insurers operate.

    August 10, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  16. Kim Smith

    So far evryone has avoided the real issue of doctors and hospitals and drug companies that charge outlandish fees for products and services. As long as we turn a blind eye to their extortionist ways, we will always be victimized by the medical profession.

    August 10, 2009 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  17. Simmy

    "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."

    As much as I love you, and support you, Mr. President, I'm not buying that explanation......Construct it on a format such as that of Medicaid.... Have citizens pay-per-pay scale, work out the kinks with big business providers, provide the money to jump start the program (with a database that covers everyone in one place), and there you have it....

    Our system doesn't have to be like Canada's verbatim.....Glean from the parts work, incorporate our own specific components to ensure that all citizens who want and need coverage are accommodated....

    I don't feel comfortable with those who are afraid of change saying that "Single Payer" is impossible.....It's do-able, but requires a lot of elbow grease, muscles, courage, and a kick butt attitude.....If Single Payer is off the table, a Public Plan Option has got to be a done deal....

    August 10, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  18. H Rosan

    Here we go again, unbridled American arrogance. You think you know everything. Not so fast ! Come up here and we will show you how are health care system works. Our health care system is not perfect but is considered among the best and most efficient in the world. YOU AMERICANS ought to learn some humility and learn from Canada and maybe just maybe you will be able some day to get out of this health care Mess which you have created for yourselves. And if you can't I suggest you do what you do so well that is : OUTSOURCE YOUR HEALTH CARE TO CHINA AND INDIA just like you have outsourced your jobs. Good luck Mr. Obama.
    Your Canadian neighbor

    August 10, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  19. Tom

    The idea of getting catastrophic insurance for the BIG things and pay for everything else out of pocket is great if you make 6 figures or more and are 30 something (but then you are probably covered at work anyway). Without health insurance I cannot afford the extraordinary fees most doctors charge for office visits and then afford to buy the medicines the doctor prescribes. My wife is on one medicine that there is no generic yet (still in patent) and would cost $1,086.00 per month.

    August 10, 2009 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  20. Clean and simple.

    The Canadian healthcare system is MUCH better than what we have.

    For all the 'horror stories' in commercials about canadian care, there are 10 times as many in America.

    August 10, 2009 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  21. madison

    Oh yeah???? Well how about the French model then . . . .since their health care is rated number one in the world and we're rated # 37 in the world!!!

    August 10, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  22. carowe

    Health insurers are ALREADY a socialistic system by the very nature of insurance – so people should stop pretending that this notion is somehow bad or in any way going to be new (an "evil Democrat plan rammed down the poor, poor Americans' throats"). And health insurers already make decisions that ration care, deny care, essentially sentence many of their "customers" (income) to poorer care – largely in order to protect the insurance company's bottom line / profits / shareholders. So the idea of 'rationed care' is also not new and won't be an "evil Democrat policy forced upon the poor, poor Americans." In fact by taking a hard look at the way health care works and making important changes, the hope is that this plan will make it BETTER for the poor, poor Americans – including those who are so poor that they have absolutely nothing available to them now so they wait until they are so sick they have to go to the ER and cost us thousands. Please, people, use your brains and not your favorite talking heads' scripted sound bites, when you discuss this whole big, complicated and broken system. Quit acting like a bunch of babies who haven't the capacity to ask questions – and more importantly – listen critically to the answers and check facts rather than reacting to fiction.

    August 10, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  23. Billy from NC

    You got that right! Man, I wish he would resign or something. Or at least, just give some speeches and top trying to do a bunch of mess.

    August 10, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  24. Chris

    As a Canadian, I have to laugh at the Republicans bashing our health care system. What they don't know is that our current Conservative led government wouldn't dare take away the single payer system. They would be eliminated as a major political party if they tried. Even though our system isn't perfect, Canadians don't have to pay $10,000 a year to insurance companies for coverage.

    August 10, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  25. Susan

    "avoid the waits?" I have to wait two to three months to see my doctor now, for a routine checkup! I have insurance. This has been going on for years...in an emergency, I can get in...for routine stuff, I have to wait until she's available.
    I submit that those who don't want the system changed are afraid of any kind of change in anything. You probably voted for McCain because you thought he would continue the Bush ways: wars and less tax while continuing to spend us into bankruptcy. I have been around 50 years and have yet to see a Republican President leave office with a surplus, while Dems do it most of the time. We get to clean up Republican leavings...deficits, wars...no health care reform, social programs in a mess. What exactly DO Republicans do in office but talk and spend? At least with Dems, we get a few taxes and attempt to run a balanced budget. Bush hid the war spending so his budget would look better.

    August 10, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
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