Conservative group's ad compares American health care to Canada's system
September 3rd, 2012
08:43 PM ET
2 years ago

Conservative group's ad compares American health care to Canada's system

(CNN) - The conservative group Americans for Prosperity on Monday announced it would spend just over $6 million to run in eleven states an ad hitting President Barack Obama's health reform law.

The 60-second spot features a woman, Shona Holmes, who said she turned to the U.S. medical system for treatment of her brain condition when the wait for a specialist would have been too long under the system in her country, Canada.

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"I knew then that the system had become far more dangerous for patients than I had ever realized," she says in the ad.

As she speaks her next line ("the American system was there for me when I needed it"), text on the screen says that "under President Obama, America's health care is becoming more like the Canadian system that failed Shona."

Holmes says she was told by a doctor that she "would be dead" by the time of an appointment she had scheduled in Canada, but the ad does not link that line to the spot's criticism of Obama's health care reforms. A video that a liberal group released as an ad earlier this year was criticized for connecting a woman's death with GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

Americans for Prosperity said it had purchased $6.2 million of airtime to run the ad, which it said is the capstone in a series of four ads on which it spent $27 million. One of the spots hits Obama over his campaign pledge to reduce federal government deficits.

In August, CNN reported the group had bought $20 million of time in nearly a dozen states, including some in which the latest spot will run.

The spot will be played in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Virginia, Wisconsin, and North Carolina, the group said.

– CNN's Gregory Wallace and Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report


Filed under: 2012 • Canada • President Obama
soundoff (69 Responses)
  1. ptw

    I am from Canada, and this case actually made some big waves here a few years back. The reaction to her story was mostly skepticism since this is not what normally happens to someone in her condition in the Canadian healthcare system. In fact, her claims are so out of the ordinary from what you would expect in Canada's system that many have accused her of exaggerating, lying, or not understanding her condition and the treatment options and why she might have to wait for treatment.

    September 3, 2012 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    I have not had any problems with the Canadian health care system. I've had surgeries that were done on time, I've visited the emergency room and got good service.

    September 3, 2012 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  3. T'sah From Virginia

    ►... she turned to the U.S. medical system for treatment of her brain condition when the wait for a specialist would have been too long under the system in her country, Canada... ◄

    Well, she must have been RICH because she would not have been covered here in America with a Canada Health Care plan. The Republicans need to also remember that there are millions of Canadians who BRAG about the Health Care system so they should be careful about getting ONE person to speak bad about it – when a thousand more would say it's good.

    Obama 2012 – The Only Trusted Way Forward and YES, We Know You Built That – We ALL Did!!!

    September 3, 2012 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  4. prtyofstupid

    So, it wasn't enough to insult London, Palestinians...now conservatives go after Canada. If Romney becomes POTUS, we won't have any allies!

    September 3, 2012 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  5. Thomas

    And what about VA healthcare ?

    Id take the Canadian Healthcare system over the Rick Scott corrupt system anyday !

    Good Healthcare and good Education makes for a more equal , fare and more productive country.

    September 3, 2012 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  6. rt. wing

    I am really happy with my Canadian care!

    September 3, 2012 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  7. Reggie from LA

    I wonder how many doctors she consulted with? How many towns or cities did she try? That's odd. So Obamacare is coming to a situation where a woman will fail to get an appointment and die? Could it have been due diligence? Wonder how much she was paid for this one? GET SCARED EVERYBODY!! OBAMACARE'LL KILL YA!!...but Romney can save ya. He's gonna uhm...what he's gonna do is, ah...He really didn't say what he's gonna do did he? Now remember, the cost of healthcare was/is screamin'. If Romney doesn't substitute the program he's out to kill, it might just bankrupt you before it kills you. Booooooo, that's kinda scary too.

    September 3, 2012 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  8. Stephan Rice

    As an American living in Canada I find these claims by that woman outrages. I believe she is lying about her condition for political gain. First she must have the money to pay for her treatment because one thing I know about the US system is that they don't do it for free.What I can say is like alot of things in life the Canadian system though not perfect it is certainly better than the US. The stories about long waits for surgery is the same as in the states. I have had 3 shoulder operations in the states and had to wait 4-6 months for surgery every time. I face another but this time replacement surgery. I could have had it done right away but chose to have done this fall. The big difference unlike the US there is NO co-pay. The entire procedure is covered by the government. So is all post-surgery rehab, so when I hear the Romneys or Roves lying about the system we have in Canada it really makes me wonder what they mean when they say that the US has the best healthcare I know they have no idea what the're talking about. It really is sad to witness how bad the country has become, there seems to be a arrogant ignorance. That ignorance seems to be just what the GOP wants to tap. They are truly the no-nothings

    September 3, 2012 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  9. myviewis

    Oh yes, Canada whose Head of State is Queen Elizabeth of England and who makes sure most things in Canada are the same as England. Even her husband Prince Philip holds the highest rank in the Royal Canadian Navy, Air Force and Army. Sure Canada is going to have better medicine than the USA, has anyone seen the tooth condition of most English????????

    September 3, 2012 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  10. Theo Pappas

    It's this kind of fearmongering that has turned me away from the Republicac party. Ask the people of any of the major industriial countries who provide healthcare coverage for ALL of their people for 1/2 the per capita cost of the US which system they prefer. The healthcare providers in the US have insured high profits for themselves by paying off both Democrats and Republicans. Controlling healthcare cost and insuring everyone will never happen until we get lobbying and campaign reform – Good Luck with that, I'll keep voting for the New Guy until someone makes adifference.

    September 3, 2012 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  11. Larry L

    Would Canada allow children or the elderly to die because they don't "deserve" health care? Would Canada allow families to face financial ruin because of outrageous health care costs? Does Canada believe health is a result of financial success? Should only the wealthy be allowed to live healthy lives? Right-wing "Christians" in the U.S. believe these things to be reasonable and fair. I must live country that actually cares about it's people... but I fear those days would be gone forever should we elect Romney as President.

    September 3, 2012 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  12. mhklein

    But Obama is not making our health system like Canada's Under Obamacare, private insurance companies still form the core of health care, not the government. All the government does is prevent the insurance companies from committing the abuses they have in the past, and to extend Medicaid to the poor who could not afford private insurance in the first place.

    September 3, 2012 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  13. GARBAGE, GARBAGE

    I LOVE MY CANADIAN care. Republican have no clue what they are talking about. She could have bought SUPPLEMENTARY care here if she wanted as well. NO ONE IS forced to wait for a LONG TIME for care. There are private care hospitals here. And if they don't have any people travel out of the country, to USA, CUBA, INDIA etc.....it is not a new thing. They do it now in the US too.

    I had a surgery scheduled within 15 days in Canada for my growth. I see my primary care doctor 4 – 6 times a year and I see three or four other specialists just for second, third or fourth opinion. ALL at no cost.........This woman may be a very small minority and doesn't speak for the majority.

    ps: if you don't think people are waiting a long time in America NOW, think again........THEY ARE WAITING to die at their homes. This week CNN reported the case of a woman with cancer who died at home becauce she couldn't afford another hospital bill (she already owe $21,000). Please, Americans please don't buy into the republican propanganda.

    September 3, 2012 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  14. E. Stelck

    Thank goodness for the Canadian health system. I have had two head operations, first in 1972 and again in 1989. Only positive things to say about our medical plan.

    September 3, 2012 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  15. independent, in Texas

    Sounds to me like she still has a brain condition if she thinks we are better then Canada.

    September 3, 2012 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  16. Canuck Observer

    This woman is lying through her teeth,.. i love my Canadian healthcare,..i sleep well at night, knowing my family will not face financial ruin if we should get seriously ill. More fear mongering by the GOP and the Health lobbyists. Save and cherish your Obamacare,..and don't be swayed by lies .

    September 3, 2012 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  17. Craig

    The Republicans & Americans for Prosperity are wasting their time trying to put down the Affordable Care Act. It's done, it's the law & voters don't care about this; they just want this election to be over and get on with their lives under one of the greatest Presidents in history...Barack Obama.

    September 4, 2012 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  18. Kathleen Farrell

    I wish the ACA went as far as to create a system like Canada's. How many people why oppose the individual mandate know that US emergency room have to treat everyone, and those with insurance cover their costs. It's all about personal responsibility, which the GOP says it believe in... unless it doesn't.

    September 4, 2012 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  19. Stephan Rice

    Arrogant ignorance. Just as I said Mr Myviewis proves my point.

    September 4, 2012 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  20. true patriot

    Shona Holmes is a Canadian woman who has made the rounds on American talk shows condemning the Canadian system. She claims that she was diagnosed with brain cancer and needed emergency surgery, but was forced onto a waiting list so she went the States for her life-saving surgery. The truth is that Shona Holmes did not have cancer, she had a benign cyst, which is not life threatening. She probably would have had to wait two or three months in the Canadian system, but instead she went to the U.S., mortgaged her house, and paid $100,000 out of pocket. Had her non-life-threatening benign cyst been a life-threatening malignant cancerous tumour, the Canadian health care system would have provided Shona Holmes with surgery immediately, and she wouldn’t have had to pay one red cent. But because she went to the States, she mortgaged her future. (This woman has been thoroughly debunked: see here, and here, and here, among other places.)
    Yes there are wait times in Canada, but nobody waits for emergency surgery.
    Despite its imperfections, inadequacies, and increasingly classist structure (due to its deterioration over the years and movement towards a two-tiered system), Canadian Medicare is still a universal health care system that ensures no Canadian will ever go bankrupt, lose their house, go into debt, become homeless, or die because they have an accident or get sick.
    Not too long ago Tommy Douglas was voted “The Greatest Canadian” by a national poll. Tommy Douglas is Keifer Sutherland’s grandfather. He is also the person who ushered in Canada’s universal health care system. The greatest Canadian.

    September 4, 2012 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  21. Jeff

    What a joke! American healthcare system is better than Canadian one? I reported to a hospital in San Antonio, TX and waited there for more than two hours and they get me a bed among 8 beds in the room and give me IV and a prescription. Total hours I spent there is only 4 hours. I got a bill total $5,800. Our system is broken already!

    September 4, 2012 12:31 am at 12:31 am |
  22. Canuck

    The Canadian system , while not perfect, is at least humane – something the GOP , for all their religious posturing, could not be accused of.

    September 4, 2012 12:37 am at 12:37 am |
  23. Thomas

    One thing that she comforts is that Americas number one health pro plum is obesity .

    September 4, 2012 12:40 am at 12:40 am |
  24. Thomas

    @myviewis
    Oh yes, Canada whose Head of State is Queen Elizabeth of England and who makes sure most things in Canada are the same as England. Even her husband Prince Philip holds the highest rank in the Royal Canadian Navy, Air Force and Army. Sure Canada is going to have better medicine than the USA, has anyone seen the tooth condition of most English????????

    So what your saying is that Germans have better teeth ?
    Maybe we should look at the German healthcare system !

    At least the Queens sons and grandsons did military service. Unlike Romney's five sons.

    September 4, 2012 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
  25. mk1

    Never forget that Americans for Prosperity is funded primarily by the Koch brothers, multi billionaires who inherited the vast majority of their wealth and never had to worry about insurance a day in their lives. As a matter of fact, they have never had to worry about anything at all of significance a day in their lives that their money more than likely could not deal with.

    September 4, 2012 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
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