We hear much about the deficiencies of the American health care system. But things aren’t well north of the border, either—according to Claude Castonguay,one of the architects of the Canadian system. From the Investors Business Daily editorial:

Four decades later, as the chairman of a government committee reviewing Quebec health care this year, Castonguay concluded that the system is in “crisis.”

“We thought we could resolve the system’s problems by rationing services or injecting massive amounts of new money into it,” says Castonguay. But now he prescribes a radical overhaul: “We are proposing to give a greater role to the private sector so that people can exercise freedom of choice.”...

What would drive a man like Castonguay to reconsider his long-held beliefs? Try a health care system so overburdened that hundreds of thousands in need of medical attention wait for care, any care; a system where people in towns like Norwalk, Ontario, participate in lotteries to win appointments with the local family doctor.
My confidence in “single payer” was rocked several years ago whilst in Toronto and I read in the paper of 900,000 Ontarians who couldn’t find their own doctors because the physicians were refusing to take new patients. And everything I have read ever since has only served to further undermine my confidence in that approach. In fact, I am a big supporter of President Bush’s Medicare prescription drug package as a model. What makes that work, it seems to me, is that it is a private system, regulated to ensure full participation, and subsidized to maintain affordability.

Read the whole IBD editorial. It should shake up anyone who thinks—as I once did—that Canadian style health care is the solution to the mess in the USA. Interestingly, both Senators Obama and McCain seem to recognize this as neither is calling for “change” that includes single payer health care for America.

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