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. Brent

    Being from Canada I find it funny how much some American judge our health are system as being of poor service or socialist! Do we have problems sometimes with delays in recieving elective or non-life threatening proceedures, Yes! But at least all Canadian's have access to healthcare, unlike 50-60 million Americans. Last Sunday my daughter was rushed into hospital with a life threatening blood disorder and she recieved immediate medical attention. Not one question was asked whether I was insured, had a credit card, cash or a life saving to hand over, JUST TREATMENT! I'll continue to pay a little more tax to ensure all Canadians have healthcare, not just the people who think they are privledged. Continue fighting amongst yourselves and we Canadians will continue having universal healthare.

    August 10, 2009 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  2. awaitingliberalizationbyCNN

    Interesting, while Obama and his thugs are shoving this down working Americans throats, and demonizing conservative groups for their opposition, another network has released who has provided the most lobbying money in the heath care reform (or whatever Hussein calls it this week) and guess who it is. THE UNIONS, those nice folks like SEIU, who we saw beating on town hall attendees who disagree with the liberal democrat position. Nice people who support the proposal put forth by the gang of thugs in Congress and the White House. And who was Blago want to work for? You got it the SEIU. Says a lot about them doesn't it.

    August 10, 2009 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  3. Bryan from Canada

    The only reason there's much longer wait times in Canada so see a prefessional is because they're all in the states making the big bucks.

    Still, I'd rather wait a few hours than die in the hallway because I didn't have proper insurance. Or, have to declare bankruptcy for the same reason.

    You Americans need helath care reform. Just about anything would be better than the system you have in place.

    I'll bet the main reason Canada's system won't work in the states is because I don't think you'd all want to see your taxes triple (or worse) overnight. No politician wants to be responsible for that.

    August 10, 2009 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  4. John T.

    I'm a Canadian and let me tell you our Medical system is top notch, we don't pay to use the hospital, we can go anytime, and are served the same day. Doctors and specialists are 100% covered, if you have Cancer or AIDs or anything your treatment is paid for by the government not YOU. It also works this way in the U.K. Our governments take care of their citizens first, and we still have a democratic captialist economy.
    Don't let anyone say the Canadian system is dangerous, it works VERY well. Doctors and nurses still get paid very well and our citizens are very well cared for.

    August 10, 2009 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  5. Van in Texas

    US health system is a mess; else we will not discuss about it. If there is a problem to a system we need to fix it. Most of time it will make it better. There are time it will get worst but this chance is lower.

    August 10, 2009 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  6. ConnectedBrainCells

    Barack won the election, America loses big time.: Did you read all those "facts" in the "libary" along with the fact that Obama is an Arab and Neil Armstrong didn't walk on the moon? Take your pharmaceutical industry-written talking points to a Palin rally where your like-minded (ignorant bigot) friends can go kill some moose from a helicopter.

    August 10, 2009 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  7. phoenix86

    "The Canadian model won't work her". Obama wants to spend more, tax more and control more than the Canadian model does. The end result will be a model that is even less efficient than that of Canada. But it will be a net government job creator, and that is one of Obama's true goals.

    August 10, 2009 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  8. Elisabeth Kuiken

    What your capitalists call "socialized medicine", we, here in Canada, call "universal healthcare"

    August 10, 2009 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  9. Jobrien

    It's sad that in an attempt to mollify the conservative blue dogs, GOP and voters, they are crafting a reform almost no one likes. And the Republicans think it is socialist anyway. Typically ineffectually Democrat: get a super majority and still craft failure by trying to please everybody.

    It's not socialist. It's not any good either. It's looking like it will be neutered into plan that will only legally mandate people to carry health care coverage, so it will just increase corporate profits in our still broken system. It will be the farthest thing from socialist, functional, public health care system. So please, right-wingers, just shut up. Or read enough that you know what you're talking about.

    August 10, 2009 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  10. Mod

    America is the only developed country that does not have a healthcare system, and we've all seen what letting the free market run healthcare has done. The average American is forced out of almost all preventative treatments because of pricing, and not only that, the system in this country puts a price on your life and body...

    Doctor: "It will cost you $60,000 to get your hand reattached... oh can't afford it? Okay, well enjoy your new stump stumpy. By the way, that will be $1000 for us to stitch up your bloody stump."

    What is wrong with you people? If you really want things to continue the way they are then you all must be masochists or something.

    August 10, 2009 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  11. Neil

    I believe that most of us Canadians, (the ones Obama was referring to at the press conference in Mexico), are mystified by the uproar over the opposition to reform the American health care system.

    I just want to echo earlier posts by adding that over the past few years I have had two broken limbs, a detached retina, diabetes treatment, yearly checkups and assorted other minor ailments treated immediately or in a timely manner as necessary. In addition there was the birth of our two children and all of the childhood maladies they experienced.
    My cost – slightly higher taxes. I'll take that over bankruptcy or the fear of going to a doctor or hospital.

    Keep opposing healthcare if you want but don't denigrate our system to further your misguided cause.

    August 10, 2009 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  12. R

    give up on the long wait/euthanasia junk. If you cannot find a Canadian to get a reasonable description of their system, try to understand the German and/or french systems. They all work, and produce longer life expectancy and lower infant death rates than our present system.
    And forget the rationing argument against. American health care services are already rationed, by price. I want them rationed by professionally defined medical need. We do not need to continue to spend one-third of our health care dollars on insurance company duplication and administration

    August 10, 2009 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  13. Dr. Mike

    As a physician in healthcare we are all worried about declining coverages, increasing costs, lower wages. All I have to say is that I am for health car reform, because in the long run it is better for the country. Medicare and Medicaid are already "socialist" programs. Last time I checked Sarah Palin's child is covered under this! it doesn' deny coverage. What you have to do is to get rid of the insurance companies! Bottom line is that there is no healthcare if you annoy enough physicians to create a more profound shortage. The only solution is a hybrid model that Obama is suggesting. To the other idiots on here with a low iq who call this "socialist" just think medicare, medicaid, and the VA..aren't these all "socialist" plans?
    I am moving to spain

    August 10, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  14. GMG

    Hey everyone, snap out of it! this is not rocket science! Most of the rest of the planet figured this out a long time ago. The longer we spend fiddling around with for-profit health insurance, the more time and money we will waste. The Canadian model would work just fine here. We just need the sense to make decisions based on the facts and what is the greatest good for the greatest number. Sadly, we are more and more unable to do this. Therein lies our demise, now in progress.

    August 10, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  15. Proud Canuck

    I used to post on sites like this to explain how Americans are being brainwashed by their HMOs and how they should form their opinions on Canadian health care by listening to actual Canadians instead. In the end I decided it is better for the US to keep its backwards system so that it continues its decline into oblivion. Long Live Universal Health Care!! and Go Leafs Go!

    August 10, 2009 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  16. R from Texas

    If we are going to to the "public option" thing, and Harry Hardluck and Sally Sob-Story are going to use my tax dollars to treat themselves and their kids, lets put some reasonable limitations on it's use, or it's no better than Medicare and Medicaid.
    If you chose to smoke 2 packs a day for the last 20 years, why do I have to pay for your biopsy, your radiation, your chemotherapy and lung transplant?
    If you are a drug addict, I will happily pay for your rehab and follow up so that I don't have to pay for your mid-term abortion, or multiple illegal prescriptions that you are abusing.
    If you chose not to immunize your children, I don't want to pay for your 4 month old being on a ventilator with pertussis or brain-dead from meningitis.
    If McDonalds is not a choice but a lifestyle, why should I pay for your cholesterol meds, your high blood pressure meds, and your gastric bypass surgery?

    August 10, 2009 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  17. Bob from SC

    Actually, the extremists on both sides of this debate are EXTREMELY EMBARRASSING (or should be) to every American the world over. The innuendos, false and misleading statements, and "stupid and childish" tactics in use by BOTH SIDES is sickening.

    August 10, 2009 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  18. Leifer

    These "Conservatives" who think the free market solves all of life's problems – or if it can't, then Jesus will – are so backwards thinking that there is really no hope for them. For them, everything is black & white, or right & wrong. Anything that is complicated is not worth the undertaking – including thinking. The invisible hand & the Holy Bible take care of everything? Grow up America.

    August 10, 2009 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  19. ib

    Obama wants something that is more gov. controlled than they have in canada. All he thinks about is ways for the gov. to controll more of our lives.

    August 10, 2009 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  20. mother and sister of a soldier

    Does this Pres really think he can develop a uniquely, workable american plan and pass it speedily like he demands? Does he honestly think small to mid size companies will pay 12% of their gross towards health care, then be taxed on this by the government? They will drop their coverage and opt for the 8% government option.All these people will be thrown into his plan and he isn't counting on these numbers. It seems to me he is looking for a bandaid and not attacking where the problems lie....big pharam, cap medical law suits then less tests would need to be ordered so doctors can cover their butts, abuse of health care once people meet their deductable. Let see tort reform but that would go to the heart of lawyers like him.
    The cost of living in this country will hurt us all after we get taxed for health care, pay rising energy cost due to his Cap and Trade. Manufactureres will have to pass this on to us. Wake up....he is killing this country at his hurried pace..

    August 10, 2009 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  21. dominican mama 4 Obama

    Wow the same people that are trying to deny you quality healthcare, are ALSO telling you that Obama is NOT a U.S. ciitizen.

    You should ask them how he got past the FBI, CIA, Justice Department, John McCain AND Sarah Pailin's research team (you know they were investigating him), the Department of the Interior, and the Secret Service.

    And then ask them to ADD YOU to their health insurance plan.

    Tell me how that goes for you.

    August 10, 2009 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  22. Marko

    People are also dying in the USA waiting for a procedure. They are waiting until they can afford it, which for many that day will never come. For the ones that can, at that moment, they will then not be able to retire as their savings will be gone paying for it. That leaves the rest of the nation it works for. The top 1% of the wealthy and the employed. As long as you stay employed that is.

    August 10, 2009 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  23. irwin

    Why win't it work here? That's what Obama won't answer. That's because they're all in the pockets of Big Insurance, Big Pharma. et al, not in our pockets – where they should be. That's the 800 lb. gorilla that's not confronted. Why do we need the inefficiencies and outright cruelty of these companies who want to make profits off our very health and existence????

    August 10, 2009 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  24. Dee

    Its almost humorous to hear comments about the Canadian system by folks who know nothing about it...they are merely espouses the views of those opposed to it who would lose profits if they reformed your system. As a Canadian who recalls the debates over universal coverage in Canada when reform took place, I can assure you it is the special interests who drive the debate against it. And only the naive and uninformed fall for their tactics. The vast majority of Canadians LOVE our universal health care system & would NEVER give it up. Ask any Canaidan politican who has even attempted to discuss privatising any portion of our univeral care...they would never get reelected! Yes, we have problems with our system...but noone who needs health care ever gets denied....and none waits for care when in real need. Ive lived under our system for 60 years and have never known 1 person who has not recieved the care they need!!
    Please educate yourselves on the Canadian system before you criticize it. You will be very happy once you reform your system...dont let the minority that have much to gain if it fails win!!

    August 10, 2009 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  25. Tony from Canada

    hate to frustrate the anti-reformists' propoganda.. but overall the Canadian system works very well.

    August 10, 2009 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
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