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. Alastair

    Let's put something into perspective. Our health care system here in Canada is supported by the taxes of a total population that is smaller than the total number of Americans that don't receive health care....!!

    If we had the tax base of Americans and our health care system, there would be nothing comparable or as great in any other country. We have it good, but our cousins to the south could have it even better with the proposed plan.

    Of course, there are many naive people to the right that want to believe anything they are told.

    August 10, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  2. Eddie

    You've got to be kidding.....this president is LYING....he is a liar!
    All CNN knows how to do is stick their Liberal nose up Obama's more liberal butt! And after they have done that, they take the words of Sarah Palin and twist them around to sound like something she is not saying! CNN is the epitomey of an OXYMORON!
    If Palin is such a moron and idiot (as the libs constantly say) why on earth do they keep on attacking and kicking her??? Could it be that they are scared to death of someone who walks the walk? Someone who practices what they preach? Someone who believes in the One Creator who is God Himself???

    August 10, 2009 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  3. Kevin B.

    Some americans have been so abused by their corporate masters, that they acually believe for profit health insurance is some how superior to the rest of the industrialized world.

    Shame on us all.............How utterly stupid and easily manipulated have we become ?

    August 10, 2009 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  4. lc from ohio

    We need healthcare reform! These scare tactics are really low class.
    Palin's latest outcry was totally uncalled for and did nothing to advance intelligent progression of something many in this country desperately need.

    August 10, 2009 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  5. Chris C.

    The healthcare insurance industry must be made NON-PROFIT first, before any other changes are made.

    August 10, 2009 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  6. George

    Wait an see what happens here. Obama will come out and say that those making their feelings known at the town hall meetings are not un-American and that he has said all along a vigorous debate is what is needed. He has whipped up the crowd by demagoging the issue and by putting up repeated strawmen and his party has taken the bait. He will now swoop in and claim that he has been the voice of reason all along.

    Much like he did in the Gates/Crowley debacle. After he carelessly and stupidly claimed that the officer and the entire police force acted stupd, he came up with the teachable moment line. The only one who was taught a lesson in the whole episode was Obama, and the press couldn't find the courage to point that out to him.

    Same thing will happen in the healthcare debate. Obama has whipped up his base, causing them to commit acts of violence against those with opposing views, and now he'll claim the high road, and the press won't call him on it.

    I'm taking bets if anyone cares to wager.

    August 10, 2009 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  7. Steve (the real one)

    Once again everyone, it is the World Health Organization that ranks the health care of nations. Thats right, the medical arm of the do nothing, anti American, socialist, one world government, United Nations. I couldn't care less about what they think! Why is it that the US has done more for AIDS in Africa than these clowns? Yet some of you all want to jump on that band wagon and quote rankings and have no earthly idea who did the ranking!

    August 10, 2009 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  8. dominican mama 4 Obama

    Here's the thing: healthcare reform will only occur under a Democratic President. Bill Clinton tried his hand at it, and backed down because he wanted a second term. Bush had a fleeting conversation with his "god" about it, and then promptly realized that HE had great insurance, so why bother to commit political suicide. After his wealthy cronies pulled him to the side and whispered some "sense" into him, he promptly abandoned the idea. Don't know what Obama's plans are politically, but I DO know that this one is close to his heart. Who knows, we may get undeservedly lucky again and have this man commit political suicide on behalf of the 46million of our friends and family who have no insurance recourse at all. Who knows.

    August 10, 2009 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  9. Obama and Dem-Feds

    Obama and his administration does not have a plan..we know of but
    the untouchable one know that no other plan will work...and we are
    going to support him on this one....THINK..THINK...THINK !!!!!!!!!!!

    August 10, 2009 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  10. George

    Why is everyone commenting here? As Obama said, the time for debate is over. It is a foregone conclusion that healthcare will pass, it doesn't matter what it looks like, as long as he can take credit.

    Who cares if it is different than what they have in Canada, we are not supposed to debate anymore, the details are not important.

    August 10, 2009 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  11. Tania

    Abdominal aneurism, staph aureus surgery, two hip replacements (different family members), sinus surgery, bunion surgery, - all covered by Canadian health care. The first two were immediate emergency surgery, the others were a wait. Our family did not pay a cent for anything (our taxes did). Then three pregnancies, also all covered. I wonder what the bills would have been in the U.S. I think we would have been living out in the park by now. We choose our doctors. The system works as well as it can.

    August 10, 2009 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  12. dominican mama 4 Obama

    ....and while we're having a civil discourse, can someone tell me who will line Obama's pockets if he passes this healthcare reform? It won't be the insurance companies. Nor the pharmaceutical companies. It's pretty safe to say that he'll be persona non grata with these two businesses. So has anyone stopped to ask what does he stand to gain? And please, for the dolts with the socialism bs, this question is NOT for you.

    Now I DO know who stands to lose... A LOT: any Republican or Democrat curently accepting monies from the insurance companies and pharmaceuitcals. If this healthcare reform gets passed, the lobbyists are going to put a double lock on their purse strings. This means that the same folks that are telling you to "just say no" to health reform will be out millions of dollars for their pet PAC's if in fact health reform passes.

    Really something to think about. Who loses and who stands to gain.

    August 10, 2009 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  13. Barack won the election, America loses big time.

    If you prefer a death panel headed by Obama's liberal bureaucrat friends to decide whether Grandma and Grandad are allowed to die or not.

    If you prefer our country go bankrupt when the cost will be at least triple the 1 trillion dollars that will increase our debt

    If you love higher taxes so that you have little left for yourself.

    If you love a far lower quality of care.

    Then OBAMACARE is for you.

    For me, Obama can take himself and his Socialist ideology and go back to where he was born in Kenya or go where his ideology has never worked, like in Moscow or Havana.

    August 10, 2009 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  14. Tania

    The US hospitals are BUSINESSES! For profit! That's where the money goes. And some HMO will tell you that your cancer or heart condition is predetermined and is not covered?! Talk about death sentences.

    August 10, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  15. Dave from Canada

    I live in Canada and I very much prefer the canadian health care system. Now, there are no doubt problems with the system. Wait times for non-critical care are sometimes long. However, it is not the case that care is denied or withheld when it is a matter of life and death.

    Quality of care is generally quite good. The numbers speak for themselves; infant mortality rates in Canada are lower than in the US, average lifespans in Canada are longer than in the US, I could go on. Check it out on Wikipedia if you want to confirm.

    So there is room for improvement and I would like to see some of the provisions talked about in the US be implemented in Canada(Digitizing medical records, incentive for quality of care not quantity). I, as a Canadian living in Canada, would not want to swap the Canadian system for the American health care system.

    August 10, 2009 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  16. kishen c.rao

    what ever it may be, now nation needs to have a strong health care reform....all these guys, hospitals, doctors, and insurance guys are lobbying like crazy...for selfish reasons...people are suffering...we need govt.-run-health care system...for sure...it should be inbetween two, canadian, and govt.-run system...fine..

    August 10, 2009 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  17. Ken

    Why bother letting the US know how much better off they would be?
    You're dealing with TCM (the conservative moron), Kevin in Ohio, and Doug, New Jersey. It is impossible for them to believe that anything the US has is not the best. That would be a slight to their manhood.

    August 10, 2009 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  18. angel

    You are doing a great Job Mr. President Some people are stuck on 18th century form of government. Well the 18th century form of goverance collapsed in 2008. We need a new direction or else USA will not have a chance 20 years from now

    August 10, 2009 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  19. Heather Franek

    Of course the Canadian model won't work in the U.S., because Americans are not intelligent enough to want good health care if it means they will have less money.

    August 10, 2009 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  20. john

    "Barack won the election, America loses big time" is an idiot... America loses when people like this have the ability to type...

    August 10, 2009 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  21. Mark

    Wow. The Canadian system is wonderful. Is it perfect? No – no system is. However, use my example. My wife collapsed with a ruptured brain aneurysm, she was operated on at midnight of a Friday on a long weekend, spent three weeks in the hospital, and thankfully recovered.

    Not once did I think about costs, insurance or anything. Just spent time with her and prayed for her recovery.

    Total costs to me. ZERO. Nadda..Zip..

    She goes for follow ups.. is not "un-insurable" with a pre-existing condition. The words pre-exisitng condition barely even exist in Canada.

    Are taxes higher here? Yes, but we only have a tax base of 30 million people unlike the US that has 10 times more people. Oh. and we are not so far in debt that our great -great-great-great grandchildren will be paying forever. After my experience, my wife and I are happy to pay a little extra so all Canadians can get the health care we received

    August 10, 2009 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  22. Kim

    I think Obama knows that single-payer is the way to go ultimately, but he also knows that your lobbyists, Big Pharma, Big Insurance and a good portion of the citizens who it would benefit simply will not have it or are too stubborn to see that it would be the answer.

    Unfortunate.

    August 10, 2009 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  23. CL in Cal

    I had a similar experience to the individual that got sick in Calgary, In my case it was in Lima Peru, I got sick walked into a hospital, was seen right away got a prescription for a new antibiotic, all it cost was $ 31.00 because I was not a Peruvian resident if I was it would cost nothing. In the US the prescription alone is more than that.

    In contrast a visitor to the US from Peru fell, broke her leg and was not covered by anything because she was a visitor, she could not get medical and is now a cash patient. If she was an illegal alien she would be covered by medical. Her bill is over $ 60,000 and this from the wealthiest country on the planet.

    We should be ashamed.

    August 10, 2009 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  24. gary

    All government run programs (PBS included), like USPS suffers from mismanagement and poor execution. Government run programs is just another phrase for "voters paid to support continuation of big government welfare". Can improvements be made to the current medical insurance structure? Sure. Should thos changes in anyway result in the government hiring thousands of additional "civil servants" not on your life or my life!

    August 10, 2009 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  25. Angie

    Thank you to the few that have spoken intelligently here and understand the need for health care reform in this country. As for the rest, typical right-wing ignorance – not worthy of comment.

    August 10, 2009 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
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