WASHINGTON (CNN) - Republican Sen. John Barrasso, an orthopedic surgeon from Wyoming, told CNN Wednesday that there are some things that the United States should take from Canada's health care system but warned about long lines and high costs with a government-run plan.
The good things? Barrasso said in an interview on CNN that doctors are better protected from malpractice lawsuits in Canada, so they don't have to order expensive tests simply to protect themselves. But the Republican lawmaker said there's a doctor shortage in Canada because they are paid less and that thousands of patients flock south for immediate care.
"I'm an orthopedic surgeon who has operated on people who come from Canada," Barrasso said. "People don't want to wait. That's why people with cancer from other countries come to the United States because the wait time is less, the screening is better."
But Canadian Liberal Sen. Grant Mitchell, who lives with and likes his government-funded health care, saying that it's "half as expensive" and that he has never had to change doctors, disputed the charge that his countrymen have to go to the United States for better care. He said Canada's system is "one of the top in the world" and that Canadians "have a longer life span."
"The fact is that Canada provides outstanding health care," Mitchell said on CNN. "There's 49 million Americans who aren't covered by a health care program. When you start to talk about people not getting services, what are you saying in the U.S. about those 49 million people? How can we simply disregard those people?"