8-27-14 – Mark Steyn on Canadian single payer health care

Posted by John McClaughry

Mark Steyn is an internationally known writer who now lives in New Hampshire. He lived for quite a while in Quebec, and tells this story about the wonders of Canadian single payer medicine.

“A few years back,” he writes, “when my little boy was a toddler, I had to rush him to the emergency room at the Children’s Hospital in Montreal. They asked for his Medicare card. I didn’t have it. The missus usually has it with her– so the receptionist said we’d have to go away and come back later. In all my experience of American, British, French, Swiss, Austrian and other health care systems, I’d never heard such rubbish. I had my card. He’s my dependent. What would cause her to think he didn’t have a card or wasn’t entitled to one? And given that the cards are generated in a computer anyway, why isn’t there a data base of current card holders? After ten minutes of my yelling, they agreed to see the kid.”

Steyn says the year before, a Quebecois man went to the St. Andre medical clinic complaining of stomach pain. He’d forgotten to bring his  Medicare card, so they turned him away. He went home, collapsed of acute appendicitis, and died, at age 21.

Under single payer, the system wants you to go away lest you cause them to use up rationed resources. In three years you’ll see that at a Vermont clinic near you.

– John McClaughry is vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute. 

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Ivan Smith August 27, 2014 at 10:37 pm

That’s reflects the staff at the hospital, not the system.


Wendy Wilton August 28, 2014 at 2:20 am

The system creates an environment for employees. Employees respond to the system’s demands and structure. That’s why single payer health care is a problem.


Doug Richmond, Underhill August 29, 2014 at 7:41 pm

The Canadian system is famously BROKE. They too operate on the “global budget”, now favored for Vermont. When or if the money runs out, tough luck. The only way to have “too little money” not run out is to do as little as possible.
Have you seen US citizens flocking to Canadian Gov’t hospitals for health care?


filia libertatis August 29, 2014 at 9:42 pm

Last year I had cancer, undefined, and the docs Mass General literally saved my life. I am still under their care. What happens in 2017- will I be able to go out of state, to MA, for treatment? I fear that this plan literally, could kill me.

And conversely, if someone who is visiting, is sick in Vermont, will they be able to get treatment here? As in the article, when I was sick in Toronto 20 years ago, no one knew how to treat me, because no one knew how to bill me, even when I offered them cash.

These are not hyperbolic questions. These are real questions, asked yet never answered, that affect the quality of care, if not the actual care itself, for anyone in Vermont, should they become ill here.

Medicine should be for the patient. The patient’s need should not be subservient to the state.


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