Do Canadians have it better? A conversation on the future of American health care [podcast episode #03]
On this episode of Eye to Eye, I had the opportunity to interview Sally Pipes, a leading proponent for greater freedom in health care. In discussing health care policy issues in this country, people often make comparisons to the health care systems of other nations—the Canadian system is often brought up. I discussed with Ms. Pipes her firsthand experience of socialized medicine in Canada.
One point she made that I found particularly interesting was her discussion of the factors that lead people to have a skewed view of a health care system. When you have routine medical needs (which is the category most people fall in), a health care system fraught with government intrusion may look as if it is working decently. The shortcomings of such a system often only become apparent when you experience out of the ordinary illnesses that require experimentation, innovation and state-of-the-art care. This is important to keep in mind when you hear Canadians saying, as they often do, that their government-run health care system works great.
Another subject we discussed is the frequently cited fact that Canadians spend a lower percentage of their GDP on health care than Americans (11.4% vs. 17.6%). In my view these kinds of collective statistics are dubious and misleading (given the impact of regulatory controls on costs, and the disparate quality of service from one country to another–to name just two problems).
Some of the other topics Ms. Pipes discusses in the podcast include:
- Why private health care is outlawed in Canada
- The part of the American health care system that most closely resembles Canada’s
- Where doctors and patients are going, to escape government intrusion in their medical decisions
- Why health care in Canada is getting worse
Ms. Pipes is president of the Pacific Research Institute. She writes a column for Forbes.com and is most recently the author of The Pipes Plan: The Top Ten Ways to Dismantle and Replace Obamacare.