Single-Payer Debate

Over at TNR, Jonathan Cohn and David Gratzer are engaging in a debate over the merits of a national health system. Today is part 1, and Gratzer is already misleading his audience.

Far from the nirvana of your essay, I found people struggling to get basic health care--since practically every surgical and diagnostic test required some type of waiting.

Cohn rightly calls claims of excessive waiting in Canadian hospitals "wildly exaggerated" in his book, Sick. And in fact, studies show that while Canada does have some long wait times on some non-emergency surgeries (such as hip-replacement), in reality wait times in Canada are quite comparable to other health care systems.

Moreover, studies show that most Canadiens are happy with their health care -- a system that "is and always has been popular in Canada." This is not true in the US, where 56 percent of Americans would prefer a government-run universal health system “like Medicare” to our current system.

And as many already know, in America, more than 45 million Americans lack insurance, and more than 18,000 die each year from this. This hardly seems like much of a debate to me.