Canadian Health Care Expert Schools A Republican U.S. Senator

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March 13, 2014 3:25 p.m.

The Senate Subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging held a hearing Tuesday on “what the U.S. health care system can learn from other countries,” where single-payer health care was discussed. And The Los Angeles Times’ Michael Hiltzik caught an exchange between Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) and Danielle Martin, a Canadian physician and health policy professor.

Burr came at Martin with a number of questions, pointed questions. But Martin had answers. Hiltzik highlighted some key moments.

“Dr. Martin, in your testimony you note that Canadian doctors exiting the public system for the private sector has had the effect of increasing waiting lists for patients seeking public health care,” Burr said. “Why are doctors exiting the public system in Canada?”

“Thank you for your question, senator,” Martin said. “If I didn’t express myself in a way to make myself understood, I apologize. There are no doctors exiting the public system in Canada, and in fact we see a net influx of physicians from the United States into the Canadian system over the last number of years.”

Later on, Burr asked Martin: “On average, how many Canadian patients on a waiting list die each year? Do you know?”

“I don’t, sir, but I know that there are 45,000 in America who die waiting because they don’t have insurance at all,” Martin said.

You can watch the whole hearing here (the Burr/Martin exchange begins around 1:00):

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