During the Democratic Presidential Debates last night and Tuesday night, we heard a lot about America’s healthcare laws and candidates’ plans to change them. Some candidates are fond of “Medicare for All,” a plan that would replace today’s private insurance companies with one government program to pay for and manage all health care publicly.
This is similar to the healthcare system in Canada. Sen. Bernie Sanders frequently praises the Canadian system, even though it actually allows a greater role for private insurance than does his Medicare for All proposal.
Still, the Canadian system has well-documented shortcomings. In this new video below, a Canadian watchdog organization, Second Street, interviews Christina Sanford, a nurse and mother about her experience as a patient. When Christina injured her back, she was told that despite severe, life-altering pain and numbness, she did not meet the categorical government standard to qualify for surgery. Instead, she was prescribed opioid painkillers for years while she suffered.
Finally, Christina traveled to Mexico for a 30-minute back surgery that addressed her back injury. She’s not alone: Many Canadians travel outside of their country for treatment when they are denied care or when they languish on long wait lists. As Christina said, ““It’s terrifying to leave your country to go somewhere to get spinal surgery… but I don’t regret this a bit. Sometimes you just have to leave in order to get better.”
When asked about her feelings toward the Canadian health system, Christina said, “I feel somewhat cheated. It’s something as simple as a half-hour surgery that could completely turn my life around… why don’t we have that option here?” Sadly, countries with socialized medical systems have to deny options to many patients.
Americans should pay attention and beware.