September 16th, 2009
06:00 PM ET
13 years ago

Canada vs. US: whose health care system is better?

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?"

Filed under: Canada • Health care
soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. Maria

    Just came from Canada from my aunt's funeral and my family and I talked about health care. They are happy with theirs, with what the goverment does for them and they told me it's the best in the world.
    They get good care when needed and never heard of anyone having to come to the states to be treated.
    They also told me that their copays were small and hey didn't have to pay for much of anything else.

    September 16, 2009 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  2. Rob from MO

    By virtually every measure the Canadian system is superior to the US system. Some people in the US wait forever for elective surgery because they cannot afford it. We also don't hear about the many people who live in places like Buffalo and Detroit who go to Canada for primary care.

    September 16, 2009 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  3. obama the liar

    socialism-the new Democratic religion.

    September 16, 2009 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  4. normajean

    If you know any Canadians, why not ask them about their health plan?. A Canadian friend of mine said that in many aspects their health plan is pretty good , however, if you need surgery...good luck!.

    September 16, 2009 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  5. Harold

    I'm a Canadian who has always lived within an hour from the U.S. border, and not once in my 32 years have I ever heard of someone going to the U.S. for medical reasons. I have had friends and family battle and beat cancer and they received wonderful and timely care. I cannot understand how health care is not included in 'life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness'.

    September 16, 2009 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  6. Yahbut

    There are many people in the United States who do not have health insurance, but they do have health CARE.
    Why doesn't anyone want to talk about this.
    Since health care is "free" in Canada then what are the taxes?
    According to people I know in Canada there are long waits for many services in Canada so don't try to slide over that.
    Also, senior citizens do not get as wonderful health care in Canada as some would have you believe.
    My husband and I are up there every year and have been told this by people in the health care system.

    September 16, 2009 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  7. Paul Marks

    After watching my parents spend their last days with apathetic low paid workers I realized health care is not and industry that should be motivated by profit.

    September 16, 2009 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  8. Gautam C. Desai

    Only Insurance companies and politicians believes that our health-care system is No.1 in the world.Most expensive,corrupted and malpractices are the main elements of our system.Doctors are not protected from long and wrong lawsuits and they are working under the guideline of big insurance companies and powerful lobby.We need more primarry physcian and nurses and manipulated lawyers should not involved in the healthcare system.To protect the midelclass and poor people from greedy business men is not a socialisam,but govt. must have control on this malpractice.
    Gautam Desai.

    September 16, 2009 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |