Conservative group's ad compares American health care to Canada's system
September 3rd, 2012
08:43 PM ET
9 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. maine liberal

    when you have money you dont wait and you dont care about cost or insurance. She probably got a BC/BS insurance policy like most snow birds before coming over.

    Canada you wait because the ratio of patients to doctors is higher. in the us ithe ratio of patients to doctors is lower and insurance companies control who when where and how often you can go. It forces finanacial death upon us.

    September 4, 2012 12:59 am at 12:59 am |
  2. Devil in the details

    guess what she forgot to mention? she recieved her surgery in MASS, under Romney Care, which is Obamacare and the Canadian Healthcare system. Read between the lines, the truth is there.

    September 4, 2012 12:59 am at 12:59 am |
  3. craigles

    If the woman pictured wasn't so fat perhaps she'd be healthier.

    September 4, 2012 01:04 am at 1:04 am |
  4. J.V.Hodgson

    I have a solution for this matter. I think the Canadian government Health Minister should sue Americans for Prosperity and all the TV stations running this advert for libel and slander in the Canadian courts. It is wrong for both this PAC and TV stations to propagate lies when they go beyond pure internal American matters. Significant parts of the content and comments are directed in a factually incorrect manner at Other nations. Freedom of speech does not protect you from being sued when you lie in Canada.
    In my personal knowledge no-one has ever been turned away if the condition was life threatening or told to wait without at least three independent doctors being wrong about the patients prognosis being or is life threatening or not. My wifes brothers father was a doctor in Canada and he is offended by this AD big time.
    Something reasonably serious but not life threatening you will never be turned away as you may be in the US, or sent to another hospital.
    By the way she would anyway have got her after surgery medication needs or rehab much chaeper on her return to Canada.
    Its the US system thats broken not the Canadian system because without PPACA between 35-45 million Americans cant get health care unless thier life is threatened.Disgraceful, shocking, immoral, and unbelievable that people voting wise might be influenced bythis type of Advert
    Life threatening brain surgery in the US is enormously expensive glad she could afford to pay... most American would face huge co pays, and god forbid if it had been a pre-existing condition.

    September 4, 2012 01:18 am at 1:18 am |
  5. Brian Mouland

    Not perfect in Canada. I have been waiting for a second hip replacement for almost a year. Also a critical shortage of doctors in smaller remote communties in the country

    September 4, 2012 01:28 am at 1:28 am |
  6. rubydee

    The woman is lying...her claim was fact checked back in 2009 by and was found to be exaggerated.

    I live in Canada. Our health care is great. If you need surgery for something, you get it, without having to worry about going broke.

    September 4, 2012 01:38 am at 1:38 am |
  7. MJ

    Wow they are bringing her up again; in the three years since the first ad campaign ran couldn’t they find anyone else who had a problem with Canadian Health Care??? Wikipedia her name and have a read. Personally, I’m mid life, and couldn’t be happier with the healthcare system.
    I’m a Canadian and quite frankly I don’t want to be pulled into our neighbor’s philosophical debate on the merits of government funded (ie. Tax payer funded) healthcare. There is too much money involved in the healthcare industry in the United States for the debate to ever be resolved. The debate started in 1947 with President Truman healthcare initiative and isn’t finished yet.
    In 65 years since the debate started what has changed? Well the less developed world around the US has caught up in a lot of ways. In many countries hard rural life for the majority of the population has been replaced with city or suburban living. This leaves you with a current statistical numbers game which is reflected in the global life expectancy of individuals which doesn’t even list the US in the top 20 countries currently.
    If money wasn’t the issue they wouldn’t be calling it “socialized medicine”, they would be calling it a “best practice” based on the statistics of other nations which currently have this practice in place. If the philosophy of capitalism was firmly against providing healthcare to people then your foreign aid dollars wouldn’t be going to support the state departments 6.4 Billion annually in global health and child survival.
    Why does universal healthcare work in Canada? It’s very simple the Canadian public holds the politicians accountable for it. You want to get rid of it, privatize it, or change it; you lose the election, and more than likely you lose your career in politics. Canadians hold their politicians to ensuring the system is working, and treating people.
    Although I am for Universal Healthcare, I am not for Obamacare. Medicare and Medicaid have proven that you cannot run a cost effective government funded healthcare program on top of a for pay system. It’s too many layers of costly administration and profit margin. It’s one or the other – they aren’t compatible.
    So frankly keep Canada out of your 65 year old debate, if America was going to do “it” (ie. Have real universal healthcare, not blanket coverage on top of a for pay system) you would have by now.

    September 4, 2012 02:07 am at 2:07 am |
  8. Kr55

    If you have something life threatening, you get immediate care in canada with no bill at the end that makes you wish you just died. Its really as simple as that. This woman is a liar as others have already pointed out with the facts. I think it is sad that the republicans dont want their country to be healthy.

    September 4, 2012 02:25 am at 2:25 am |
  9. aaron

    Wonder if she tried to get into a fat farm in Canada, failed there, tried in the U.S., got turned down here also?

    September 4, 2012 02:28 am at 2:28 am |
  10. Samca

    This is so very untrue. I have lived in Canada for 50 years and have never had to wait for medical treatment. I am so proud of our medical system so don't lie.

    September 4, 2012 02:29 am at 2:29 am |
  11. laochtine

    I wish we had Canadian health care (everyone covered).

    September 4, 2012 02:38 am at 2:38 am |
  12. jeff

    There's little doubt that the billionaire Koch brothers paid the lying heifer in pork chops.

    September 4, 2012 02:59 am at 2:59 am |
  13. Tim Southern Cal

    At least in Canada she had a specialist to wait on. Americans without healthcare have to get sick enough to end up in ER and then hope it's not too late. Then you have to start fighting the system to get help to cover the costs. I am lucky I have healthcare through my job, because of my wife's health problems our medical costs were over $32,000 for 3 months of out patient care. When she was in the hospital it was over $250, 000 the first 2 days. Who paid her medical costs here in the US or was that the payment for making anti-Canada healthcare system ad.

    September 4, 2012 03:01 am at 3:01 am |
  14. Big Munny

    Who cares about health care anyway? The most important thing in life is saving the Winter Olympics. I have one of the better insurance plans in my state, but put off going to hospital this weekend for right side numbness because of emergency room waits, co-pays, and insurance company's history of outright refusal to pay unless every eye is dotted. My plan also has refused to pay for hospital visit for vertigo, even though I was dehydrated from puking and passed out twice. Whatever they have in Canada has to be better.

    September 4, 2012 03:55 am at 3:55 am |
  15. Milton K. Wiah

    I do not understand how internal politics could cite another country situation for its political ads.
    The republicans are really going mad.

    September 4, 2012 05:43 am at 5:43 am |
  16. Gurgyl

    I bet she does not have any BRAIN-it is the reason she has long wait to check brain, did they see in her waist or feet? Pathetic Canadian complains in USA.

    September 4, 2012 07:29 am at 7:29 am |
  17. jesse james. take them to street and shoot them like the dogs they are

    You do not see any canadians flocking here for health care. Release the tax returns.

    September 4, 2012 07:46 am at 7:46 am |
  18. Carlos Murphy

    Very impressive that she could cross the border and afford it, all out of pocket.

    Another lie by the rich fiends with weird names (Trac Romeny, Reince Priebus – Where do they come up with these names?).

    September 4, 2012 07:55 am at 7:55 am |
  19. yasmine

    best careful GOP... why are you insulting a country whose economy is in better shape than ours..... and takes care of its citizens..

    @mhklein thanks for making sense...this is just another example of the GOP leaving out facts...

    September 4, 2012 08:05 am at 8:05 am |
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