17,500 Canadians Can’t Be Wrong

Since Barack Obama was inaugurated President just over seven months ago, some 17,500 Canadian have come to the U.S. to receive health care.  Just since the President’s health care legislation was introduced in the House of Representatives in March, about 12,500 Canadians have come here for health care.  During that same period, how many Americans have travelled north to obtain health care in Canada because they couldn’t get it here in the States?  

The average wait time for a Canadian to obtain treatment from a specialist after seeing a primary care physician?  About 4-1/2 months.  In the U.S.?  Virtually none.

Want to see a primary care doctor in the U.S.?  Pick up the phone and call one.  In Canada, get in line behind the five percent of the population waiting to get a primary care physician (about 17 million Canadians).

And still there are those in Washington extolling the benefit of a government-controlled, single-payor heath care system .  .  .  like they have in Canada.

284 comments Add your comment

Andisheh Nouraee

August 29th, 2009
6:14 pm

Approximately 75 percent of Canadians live within 100 miles of the U.S. border.

Yet, by your own count, a mere 5/100th of one percent of Canadians have come to the U.S. for health care this year. 33 million people live in Canada.

A 2008 Deloitte study estimates 6 million Americans will travel abroad this year for medical care — approximately two percent of the U.S. population.

In other words, Americans go abroad for medical treatment roughly 40 times as often as Canadians come to the U.S. for treatment — even though the overwhelming majority of Canadians can drive here in less than two hours.

big dog

August 30th, 2009
7:53 am

Gandhi, Most American place their health care above a sheaf fo scratch offs, visits to the clubs, MLB, NBA< NFL, and little visits to the joints for a tad. It is called personal responsibility. It is not my responsibility to pay for your health care.


August 30th, 2009
8:08 am

It shouldn’t be my responsibility to educate your children,seeing as how mine are out of the school system,but I have to pay.


August 30th, 2009
8:33 am

I would be willing to wager that “Michael Smith” is a lobbyist for an insurance company (or several), a pharmaceutical company (or several) or Republican PAC.

No one could be so insistent and consistently wrong without having a sizeable financial stake in the outcome.

Les Horn

August 30th, 2009
10:03 am

It’s all about control and buying votes.

Chris Salzmann

August 30th, 2009
11:20 am

The Professor August 28th, 2009 3:54 pm SAID: Can someone…….anyone show me where in any of the plans it calls for covering illegal aliens? I am too lazy to look for it but I am sure it is there. I am not the only one that mention the illegals.

CHRIS SAYS: In fact, the legislation specifically states that “undocumented aliens” will NOT be eligible for credits to help them buy health insurance, in Section 246 on page 143.

Chris Salzmann

August 30th, 2009
11:23 am

Jim August 30th, 2009 8:33 am SAID: I would be willing to wager that “Michael Smith” is a lobbyist for an insurance company (or several), a pharmaceutical company (or several) or Republican PAC.

No one could be so insistent and consistently wrong without having a sizeable financial stake in the outcome.

CHRIS SAYS: About 50,000 insurance company employees have made phone calls, written letters or attended health care town halls, according to America’s Health Insurance Plans, the major insurance industry association. AHIP, which opposes the public option, sent a memo to employees earlier this month with a list of “town hall tips.” The memo stresses that the employees stay calm and courteous, addressing members of Congress as “Congressman” or “Senator,” and saying thank you.

Consequence OfChoices

August 30th, 2009
11:53 am

All Americans (and illegals) can walk into to any hospital emergency room and cannot be refused treatment, so really everyone has health care availability already. Most us however choose to make financial sacrifices and pay for our healthcare through private plans for our families. Those who don’t choose to make those sacrifices (buy cigarettes/alcohol, go on vacations, eat out meals, etc), should not expect free healthcare from the rest of us.

Dunwoody Mike

August 30th, 2009
12:28 pm

Consequence OfChoices,

Cutting out going to Applebee’s really doesn’t help if you had been diagnosed with cancer or got into a severe automobile accident.
And your idea, of just going to the ER all the time, is a factor that drives up costs.

Rush Limbaugh

August 30th, 2009
2:49 pm

Hey Chris, they don’t hear you. Nor do they WANT to. Still waiting for someone, anyone, to show us a country in the world that is lobbying en masse for a US-type health system. I’ll get comfortable.

By the way, I know where you can get Oxycontin for the low in Canada.

Michael H. Smith

August 30th, 2009
3:53 pm

Michael H. Smith

August 30th, 2009
3:54 pm

Michael H. Smith

August 30th, 2009
3:54 pm

Canadian Health Officials: Our Universal Health Care Is ‘Sick,’ Private Insurance Should Be Welcomed


Michael H. Smith

August 30th, 2009
3:55 pm

A Victory for Freedom: The Canadian Supreme Court’s Ruling on Private Health Care


Richard Mertens

August 30th, 2009
3:58 pm

OK boys & girls a small little quiz: Your grandpa is 86 years old and takes 3 meds for congestive heart failure, a water pill and one for his early stage dementia. He’s had general weakness for a year or so and can’t get around except with a walker and someone keeping an eye on him. His diabetes which cropped up 4 years ago gave him a case of nerve pain in the legs and his kidneys are only at about 35%. Somedays he can’t hold his water. He falls and breaks his hip and the surgeon says he will need a ball & socket but he will not give him one. Why won’t the surgeon give him the ball & socket surgery? Answer: the risks are high that grandpa would not survive the surgery and surgery mortalities count against a physicians record. Grandpa’s health rationed the surgery. There are family members I’ve seen convince their parent that they should “trust God and pray for a miracle” and sign away the informed consent. Usually the miracle is a permantently disabled patient who will never leave bed and spends about a year or so rotting away in some nursing home. We can keep you alive but is so often disrespectful and cruel that it reveals it’s really about us and not the patient at all.

Michael H. Smith

August 30th, 2009
4:16 pm

So long as it is about us and our doctors, not the damn government, YIPPEE!!!!

Tom Benham

August 30th, 2009
5:15 pm

Bob’s comment makes two incorrect assumptions: 1. A US system will be the same as the Canadian system. Nothing of this nature is proposed. 2. The second assumption displays a lack of knowledge about how things work in Canada. They are very different than will occur in the US even if we did have the same system. An example: Walmart is building or having built a new store in Victoria, BC. It started last summer and is barely out of the ground more than a year later. I predict it will take at least two years to complete. A new Sam”s was built in Oakwood, GA in less than six months. This is just one illustration of how things work differently in Canada versus the US. Bob just doesn’t have any confidence that citizens in the US who happen to be government employees as he has been can do things in an efficient manner.

Tom Benham


August 30th, 2009
7:26 pm

There are two obvious fallacies to Barr’s observation, even if it is accurate. First, in Canada it is the wealthy who might leave for health care: they already have a minimum level of service and may wish to pay for a more prominent specialist. In the US in contrast, it is the uninsured, people with limited disposable income, who might consider leaving for health care.

Second, standardizing our health insurance system would provide a substantial economic benefit for all, aside from the care offered to any individual. This is because the uncertainty and difficulty in getting insurance, in addition to the huge costs, are a significant economic problem for anyone at risk of losing his or her job, or contemplating leaving a job to establish a new business. And the problem is even worse if the individual has any existing health issues. Removing these insecurities and controlling costs are a major benefit to everyone, whether or not they’re sick.

[...] for his AJC blog Friday, Republican-turned-Libertarian Bob Barr touted the overwhelming success and popularity of Canada’s single-payer, government-run health [...]

Chris Salzmann

August 31st, 2009
1:23 am

Michael H. Smith August 30th, 2009 4:16 pm SAID: So long as it is about us and our doctors, not the damn government, YIPPEE!!!!

CHRIS SAYS: So you obviously have a problem with the current system which is between the doctors, us and the INSURANCE COMPANIES, if you’re self employed or work for a small business that offers limited Health Insurance. Your argument doesn’t hold any water and is completely nonsensical.

Here are some FACTS:

1) People who have health insurance through medium to larger companies with comprehensive health plans, will CONTINUE with those plans.
2) For these same people, health insurance companies ALREADY have mandates regarding pre-existing conditions i.e, they have to accept all these folks, even with pre-existing conditions.
3) The health insurance reform bill is aimed at those folks who have NO insurance, or who are UNDER-INSURED with policies that have a large number of exceptions for pre-existing conditions. These type of policies are mostly held by small business owners, their employees or the self employed. These type of self-insurance policies are cash cows for health insurance companies…I know because I have among others, a health insurance license.

BTW, Medicare is a government run health insurance plan. Based on your illogical assumption, everyone under Medicare should HATE what they have. THEY DON’T. So you obviously don’t have a clue.

Bob Barr also doesn’t have a clue because the Health Insurance Reform Bill is not switching us to a single payer system. Makes me wonder how much he’s getting paid to write this piece of garbage. You listening to me Bob? You obviously don’t have clue either!

Chris Salzmann

August 31st, 2009
1:31 am

Consequence OfChoices August 30th, 2009 11:53 am SAID: All Americans (and illegals) can walk into to any hospital emergency room and cannot be refused treatment, so really everyone has health care availability already. Most us however choose to make financial sacrifices and pay for our healthcare through private plans for our families.

CHRIS SAYS: Emergency rooms should be for EMERGENCIES. You want me to SPELL that out for you??? You don’t go to an emergency room if you are suffering from CANCER, DIABETES or a chronic illness that requires LONG TERM CARE!!! Which clueless planet do you live on?

Have you ever had a private health insurance plan directly through an insurance company??? You obviously don’t because you don’t know what you’re talking about. 18000 people die in this country because of lack of health care insurance or because their insurance plans don’t cover many conditions. Over 60% of personal bankruptcies in this country are due to medical related costs. So, please don’t tell us that EMERGENCY ROOMS are the answer!!!

Allyana Ziolko

August 31st, 2009
5:17 am

17,500 Canadians can AFFORD medical treatment in the U.S. Over 1,000,000 American CANNOT afford medical treatment in the U.S. Duh.


August 31st, 2009
11:57 am

I will not be getting the flu vaccine as I have read about the “possible” side effects that are life altering. There are alternatives that I have been using for years and am happy to report that I cannot remember the last time I was laid up with anything! I have been using Viralox which is made with colostrum and is support for the immune function and improvement of health. There is no gamble with taking colostrum, but with the vaccine, it’s like playing russian roulette. Not for me. Or my family. There is lots of information on the flu at http://www.newlifehealthsolutions.com. Be well.


August 31st, 2009
11:35 pm

I live in ajax, ontario about 40 minutes east of Toronto. The doctors and the quality of care in Canada is top notch but you have to wait a lot. I have only been to an emergency room about 4 times in my life. In all 4 cases i waited from 3 hours at the least to 14 hours at the most. Once i got care, it was great. When i had terrible headaches I sought treatment and from the first appointment to the diagnosis and finally, the procedure i needed, i waited 1.5 years in pain. But, when i got the simple angioplast it was free ( i was 17) and medical staff was great. More recently i had to wait 4 months to see a dermatologist, but once i got my foot in the door he was able to give me great care and i got access to many other doctors with only a few weeks wait after that.
So overall, i’d say our system has great doctors and im glad everyone is covered but the excessive waiting is inhumane and i think we can do better. I know that outcomes for heart disease and cancer is better in the states than in Canada or Europe and I think that is because of the waiting we do up here.


September 2nd, 2009
9:23 am

what is all this talk about americans not being able to get care because they’re uninsured? no one in an emergency room has ever been turned away because they don’t have insurance. that said, i have 2 canadian friends. i asked them for the facts about their healthcare system. much to my dismay as a libertarian, they said it is “flat out, the best thing about being canadian. no waiting. no problems.” they even said, and i almost got sick myself when i heard it, “sicko, that movie by michael moore, got it right.” go figure!


September 3rd, 2009
8:09 pm

I’m in the US and my daughter-in-law is a Canadian in Ontario. She had been suffering for a long time and has not been able to work for the last 4 years, and when she tried to consult with a Naturpathic Doctor to find out why she was still so ill, her Doctor of many years told her he could no longer treat her and she had to find a new OHIP Doctor. She has been calling and can not find a new doctor, but she called around and finally was able to make an appointment to see a specialist, who discovered she has a baseball-sized cyst on her ovary. The doctor said he would like to surgically remove it now, but said he could not schedule the operation sooner than in six months.

She IS very happy with her OHIP (Ontario Health Insurance Plan), but she also has never felt she had the option to easily change doctors or get a second opinion.


September 5th, 2009
4:12 am

“(about 17 million Canadians)” – fancy that – from the CIA.GOV website. The population fof Canada is 33,212,696 (July 2008 est.) That’s no small discrepancy of numbers…

“some 17,500 Canadian have come to the U.S. to receive health care”
so 17500 out of 33,212,696 (July 2008 est.) Canadians came to the US to receive hearth care. Yes, assuming your number doesn’t include some of the same Canadians multiple times for multiple visits, 1 out of every 1897.86 Canadian Citizens has come here for health care – yes 0.05% of all Canadians… real significant statistic Bob. [/sarcasm]

I could go on with WHO statistics or mention non-profit medical operations(intended for 3rd world countries) operating here, but I’m sure other comments have covered it. Maybe, I could mention various advanced procedures like hand transplantation etc which where first successfully pioneered and performed in countries with “socialized health care” rather than our own. That’s all the tip of the iceberg.

Regarding wait times – Canada’s system is single payer, not truly socialized like in the UK. This means that the doctors are not Government employees. If you walk in with cash, I’m sure you walk out having had your health attended too. That sounds alot more like our own system, no?

“During that same period, how many Americans have traveled north to obtain health care in Canada because they couldn’t get it here in the States?”

None – because to receive that heath care in Canada, you need an ID card that shows you are eligible. I’m sure tons of Americans(like myself) WOULD go there for that… if they could. But, Americans wouldn’t have ID cards for a Canadian health care system, would they? Note how that also excludes illegal immigrants etc from their system – and also note that they don’t have the illegal immigrant problem we do. (hint)(hint)

I like you Mr. Barr, and I hope you will end up our president some day, but that talking point you made is based on ignorance, and this “article” is worth about as much as non-alcoholic beer at a frat party.

If Canada’s system was SO BAD, then explain why they visit the doctor far more often than we do (hence the wait times for less critical operations), live longer, and somehow still spend MUCH LESS of their GDP on healthcare?

Don’t get me wrong – I don’t actually endore “Obamacare” specifically. It fails on many fronts – but it is blissfully ignorant to pretend that we need anything short of major health care reform in this nation.


September 7th, 2009
2:44 pm

Bob Barr much like the idiots opposing universal health care cites the statistics of Canadians who come to America for health care.

What Barr and others fail to tell you the reader is that the costs are being borne by the Canadian Government, What he also fails to mention is that the surgeries that Canadians sought in America is not a symptom of failure in the Canadian System but a success in that it eliminates the need for the Canadian Govt to spend billions in hospitals and equipment.

In other word Barr the Govt of Canada did their buy/ build studies and found it cheaper to buy. In America we just throw money at problems without thought. The Canadian Govt did otherwise. Why build it when we can buy it cheaper?

William in Lithoinia

September 7th, 2009
6:53 pm

This debate was bound to happen as technology has increased the cost of health care far beyond what the average person with increasingly lower wages can afford.

I’m sorry to see that some people err on the side of only the rich can afford health care and the rest of us should just go bankrupt.

Medical Bankruptcies are 65% of all bankruptcies and of those medical bankruptcies 75% of those people were paying for health insurance at some point.

You can’t just pick up the phone and go to a primary physician if you don’t have insurance or the money, and some times you have insurance but don’t have the deductable.

A 2006 article “More Americans Seeking Surgery Abroad” states that India has seen a 45% increase in patients seeking care in the previous two years.

Health Insurance profits have increased 1000% in the past decade as premiums have increased 300%.

Many of the uninsured are those who need it the most, the one’s with pre-existing conditions.

It most disturbs me to hear an objection to paying for undocumented people’s health care. As our declaration of independence states all men are crated equal, with unalienable rights…

Our immigration policy is inhumane and needs to change.

We provide medical care for enemy combatants on a battle field and you suggest we shouldn’t provide health care for those who pick your lettuce for half a living wage?

Insurance reform is what were talking about and is what we need. Insurance reform will bring in more paying people and will allow them to go to a primary physician for a real change rather than going to the emergency room when problems get worse and more expensive.

I am glad that anyone can go to an emergency room now and get critical care, it’s the least we can do as a civilized humane society, but not only are problems worse due to lack of prevention, one visit to the emergency room costs as much as a year of primary care.

I realize there are those who have an intolerant ideology about what government can and can not do. It is ironic how they can spend trillions on two wars against people who did not attack us but all of a sudden have principles when it comes to basic health care insurance.

Insurance is just a pool of people who gather together and put all their money in a pot so if one gets sick their bills are paid for – because anyone of us can come down with severe illness or injury.

The larger the pool the lower the costs. There is no reason for insurance corporations who skim profits and deny coverage to get inbetween Americans and their health care.

Republicans claim the government can’t do anything and point to Medicare going broke as an example. But Republicans were the one’s who have underfunded Medicare the past decade as they were handed a surplus from Bill Clinton when the Democrats passed a budget that gave us a surpluss in 1994 without any Republican votes.

750,000 Americans sought major health care abroad last year, while about 1.5 million are expected to do so this year, according to a Deloitte Center report.

The number of people heading abroad for “medical tourism” could jump tenfold in the next decade, to nearly 16 million Americans a year seeking cheaper knee and hip replacements, nose jobs, prostate and shoulder surgery, and even heart bypasses, according to a forecast by health care consultants at the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions.



September 9th, 2009
12:06 pm

If you want to pay 50 to 60% of your income in taxes, go ahead and move to that wonderful country up North. There you can sit in your house with no disposable income patiently awaiting the day you can use your government provided insurance once you get the cancer. Sounds great!!

What changed in the last 10 years ? What changed since the 70s when you could basically expect free health insurance from your employer ? Answer those questions and maybe you have the answer to health care reform.


September 10th, 2009
12:07 am

How much you want to bet that a significant portion of that 17500 Canadians getting treatment in the states is just Canadians who happen to be in the states when they need to see a doctor.


September 14th, 2009
10:29 am

The perception by most in the U.S. is that our health care system, which is run by each of our provinces, is free. To some it is, but Canadians by and large, pay premiums. I pay $67./mo, but am healthy, so seldom use the system. With regard to wait times, I had a minor cancer procedure done by a specialist, and my ‘wait time’ from diagnosis to operation was about 4 weeks. Ever so slowly, our ’second option’ is developing, and that is called ‘private health clinics’ where sophisticated medical centres are being set up for folks that don’t want to ‘wait in line’ for their health procedures, and pay a substantial premium to have themselves looked after outside the public system. However, is the issue not that while we may have some wait times in our system in Canada, but the fact that all Canadians have access to this system, whereby in America, you have 40 million citizens who are virtually shut out of care. Is this not the issue???

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