August 10th, 2009
03:01 PM ET
12 years ago

Obama: Canadian health care model won't work in U.S.

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="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. buckwheat

    I got to agree with the Canadian on the outsourcing of jobs.Can't blame that on Obama. It was greedy American sons and grandsons who inherited the businesses that their grandfathers and fathers built with sweat and tears who sent the jobs to China and India. They now live offshore where the taxes are cheap and sell their junk to us.

    August 10, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  2. Rob

    Really, anything Obama reccommends won't do for the US. And hey, keeping true to his form, he apologized for the people in the US who are using the Canadian system in the criticisms of Obama's plan. This "president" has done more apologizing than he has leading. He will be the sorriest president we've every had, both figuratively and literally.

    August 10, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  3. Cheryl

    Folks, you are being lied to by people who will stop at nothing to prevent healthcare reform.

    Listen to the Canadians posting on this blog. They have no reason to lie to you about what the Canadian system is really like.

    Whereas the people who say the Canadian system doesn't work have many reasons for lying to you. Think about how much the health insurance industry stands to lose. Think about how desperate Obama haters are. I guarantee you these negative claims about the Canadian system are lies so you have to ask yourself what else are they lying to you about.

    August 10, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  4. Zero.

    All them words? for what? There is no Time-Line. Just total confusion. She said nothing of Value..

    August 10, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  5. Mich

    W.H.O. ranks us so low is because our health system is socialized. We don't fit their form of goverment. But not for long OBAMA will have us huming along to the soicalize views.;

    August 10, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  6. buckwheat

    I don't think it is a wise idea to cast insults at our Canadian neighbors. We should be casting them at this new administration that is trying to fix something that is not near as broken as our treasury has become since Jan 20 2009.

    August 10, 2009 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  7. Dennis

    For once I agree with him. The places where the single payer system is used have much smaller populations than the US. The US government cannot even run mail service efficiently. Financing health care is a much larger undertaking (no pun intended)

    August 10, 2009 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  8. alvino

    I hope the lobbyists and paid bloggers for the health care industry will continue to be employed after the health reform passes. It looks like their unemployment would bring the natonal total to over double digits.

    August 10, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  9. I give up - canadian version

    Guess what the Canadian model doesn't work in Canada either.

    Most Canadians think their system is the best, until they get sick. I can't wait for the onslaught from north of the boarder.

    I like my us health care better than what I received in Canda

    August 10, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  10. s

    To the people who complain that the Canadian system would result in restrictions of care and long wait times – Don't you realize that this is exactly what is happening in our country now? The only difference is that our system is unaffordable for the average person. I am a physician, and I routinely witness insurance companies denying care to individuals who are in urgent need of treatment. Appealing the decisions of these insurance carriers is time consuming and frustrating – and usually fruitless. Frequently, the hospital for which I work ends up "eating" the cost of care that insurances deny. The infuriorating thing about it is that the insurance carriers have absolutely no liability when they deny care to a consumer. They simply say that they are denying financial assistance, but not denying care – that is the role of the physician. Clearly, if the patient can not afford the care that the physician deems necessary, the patient can not be treated in our system. How is this superior to the Canadian system, in which everyone is covered and for profit insurance companies do not dictate medical treatment?

    August 10, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  11. buckwheat

    Tax the drug dealers-they are the only one making any money and need most of the health care. Hospital emergency rooms are taking care of them and policy holders who pay are paying for their care. Every illegal here is using the system and will do the same when we get the new system.

    August 10, 2009 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  12. Jane

    I honestly hope that the White house has had the health care number crunchers openly look at the Canadian system and can tell us exactly why it would not work here. I'm ready to actually see specifics, Mr President. Let's get all the options out there and do cost-benefit analysis to determine the right course for America – no spin doctors or lobbyists added to the conversation. It's a simple request

    August 10, 2009 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  13. Chris in NC

    Of course the Canadian system won't work here. Too many special interests stand to to lose too much in a for-profit system. Right-wingers need to settle down...we're not going to get a reformed health care system, just more lipstick on a pig.

    August 10, 2009 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  14. DAVE N CA

    personally i think he should implement his plan in say Illinois first to try it out on his constituents or better yet try it out on all the ACORN people.... then let us no how they are enjoying there new health care..... they can set up an ACORN only hospital with the resources they plan to use on everyone else.... if they propose only 1 doctor for every say 400 people then they should only need a handful to take care of them... oh yeah all of these ACORN people should contract the swine flu so we can all see how good there health care is...... just a thought

    August 10, 2009 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  15. Craig of LA

    I supported Obama but he is so wrong here. A single payor system like in the UK, Canada, France and Germany is objectively better;
    1. Longer life expectancy
    2. Lower infant mortality
    3. Lower rates of diabetes and heart disease
    4. Less expensive per capita
    5. Lowers business overheads and makes them more competitive!
    6. Ends 2 million bankruptcies each year due to medical bills.
    7. Ends cancellation for pre-existing conditions.

    In every objective and measureable way single payor works better! We pay twice as much for health care in our country and are much less healthy than the countries named above. Wake up!

    August 10, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  16. Allen, Cypress, Texas

    I only have two questions for these blowhard Right Wing Nutcases:

    1. Where were they from 2001 – 2007 when the Republicans controlled all levels of American government and their beloved Bush and the Republican Congress spent money like drunken sailors on two stupid wars, a massive tax – cut for the wealthiest 2%, and an overpriced Medicare overhaul?

    2. Why did they never introduce any healthcare legislation in all the six years they controlled Congress?

    I guess we all know the answers to those questions.

    August 10, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  17. CindyLouWho

    At least President Obama is willing to do something.....Republicans would soon see everyone rot.

    August 10, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  18. Joe Terrogano

    Hey fellow Americans,

    There are some truths that those yelling at the town meetings don't seem to grasp:

    1. Your medication and health insurance costs & co-pays will continue to increase not matter what anyone tells you. Those industries have monopolies on medications and health insurance and they like profits! They are funding the fight against reform (e.g., reduced profits)

    2. There is already a death watch, which is comprised of the uninsured. They do not get preventive care and you pay for their emergency room visits. How many is that? 50 Million Americans.

    3. Nobody wants to take your current health care away. You are paying for it now, so why take it from you?

    4. People like Palin and Limbaugh don't have to worry about thier health care costs, but you do.

    As long as health care costs rise, you are gonna pay, period.

    August 10, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  19. Debby

    No kidding Obama and neither will France's as neither have the population like the US does. This is why it will cost a fortune if this health care plan goes through and less men and women entering the medical field. I for one don't want a voodoo doctor handling illness's thats for sure.

    August 10, 2009 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  20. Every

    CNN this is about the 5th comment I have tried to get posted! President Obama is right! These neocon conservatives and those who have been brainwashed by their misinformation and divivive tactics are ignorant! I have been on government subsidized insurance for 10 years! Its called TRICARE for military retired or ex military and their families, I pay 495 dollars a year, and can see civilian doctors in major hospitals and clinics! I and my family received first rate care! i AND MY FAMILY HAVE NEVER HAD TO WAIT MONTHS FOR CARE THAT WAS NEEDED IMMEDIATELY, MORE LIKE THE SAME DAY APPOINTMENT! IF, YOU LISTEN TO THESE REPUGLICAN LIES YOUR PREMIUMS WHICH RANGE FROM 600 – 1500 EACH MOTH IS GOING TO DOUBLE WITHIN THE NEXT TEN YEARS! THE INSURANCE INDUSTRY AND REPULICANS CANNOT BE TRUSTED WITH THIS ISSUE!

    August 10, 2009 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  21. Barbara

    From the experience I had with Canadian health care I sure wouldn.t mind it here. I ended up in the emergency room of a very nice & new hospital in Calgary. I was in serious pain from an infection. X-rays were taken & 2 doctors conferred over my case plus 1 lab nurse. I was a walk- in mind you but I was treated very well. They fell all over themselves apologizing for the fact that I would have to pay all of the costs because I wasn't on National Health. I was sent off with an excellent diagnosis and a prescription. They even tried to contact my doctor here but (surprise) no one availiable. They presented me with the bill. I thought I'd have to sell the house – I've been in emergency rooms here & even with my insurance it was very expensive. The bill was $125.00 Canadian. I almost fainted with relief.

    August 10, 2009 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  22. FL for Change

    Thank you, Mr. President, for examining all the options for us. Every day you continue to demonstrate that you are FOR the American citizen. I support you 100%.

    August 10, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  23. Jaxson

    Republican Senators and Congressmen aren't bothered by Heathcare Reform. Afterall, they have excellent insurance that covers everything from A to Z. Why in the world would they think of anyone other than themselves?. . . Afterall they are true Republicans without a care in the world!!

    August 10, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  24. Laura

    Hey, CNN, how about including Obama's comment that he's not afraid of Canadians, even if others apparently are (paraphrasing, of course) – quite obviously once again trying to put down anyone with an opposing view to his. This nonsense has to stop, folks!

    August 10, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  25. malclave

    Obama's uniquely Chicago way... call out the union thugs to beat a black man who has the audacity to disagree with his government.

    August 10, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
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