CanadaCare sends baby to US for treatment

posted at 11:00 am on June 28, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

My friend Michael Stickings links to a story of bureaucratic outrages involving an acutely ill premature baby, but only focuses on one particular outrage while excusing the other.  Because Canada does not have the capacity to deal with the demand for neo-natal intensive care for premature births, the single-payer system sent the critically ill child to the United States for treatment.  Unfortunately, the parents do not have passports which are now required for crossing the border, and the US refuses to allow them into the country without them:

A critically-ill premature-born baby from Hamilton is all alone in a Buffalo, N.Y., hospital after she was turned away for treatment at local facility and transferred across the border without her parents, who don’t have passports.

Ava Stinson was born Thursday at St. Joseph’s Hospital, 14 weeks premature.

A provincewide search for an open neonatal intensive care unit bed came up empty, leaving no choice but to send the two pound, four ounce baby to Buffalo.

Her parents Natalie Paquette and Richard Stinson couldn’t follow their child because as of June 1, a passport is required to cross the border into the United States.

They’re having to approve medical procedures over the phone and are terrified something will happen to their baby before they get there.

Stinson has a criminal record, which makes matters worse for entry to the US.  Obviously, though, this is not a planned diversion but a real medical crisis.  Surely the US and Canada can agree to temporary measures that will allow the parents to cross the border, even if under embassy supervision and security, to join their child.  As Michael notes, keeping them away from their child at this critical juncture is needlessly cruel.

But let’s not place the onus on the US for the need to separate the parents in the first place.  Michael attempts to dismiss the underlying problem:

I won’t get into the relative merits of the American and Canadian health-care systems here. Suffice it to say that there obviously need to be more neo-natal intensive care unit beds up here. Thankfully — and this doesn’t mean that the American system is better (after all, at least the couple and their baby are guaranteed care up here, thanks to our public system, even if it’s not perfect) — there was an opening south of the border.

Well, it’s impossible to look at this situation without seeing the relative merits of the American and Canadian systems.  First, the child would have gotten care in the US, too, regardless of insurance status.  People get emergency care regardless in this country.  There is a difference between health insurance and access to care that some people elide for purposes of political argument.  No one gets turned away from emergency care for lack of ability to pay.

But why wasn’t there a NICU bed for the child in the entire nation of Canada?  The government of Canada won’t pay for more.  They don’t exist to expand supply to meet demand; their single-payer system exists to ration care as a cost-saving mechanism.  In a free-market system, supply expands to meet demand, which is why Canada could subcontract out to a US hospital for capacity.  Michael writes that paragraph as if it was mere luck that an NICU bed happened to be open in the US, but that’s a function of the system, and not luck.  These parents are separated from their child at the moment through the fault of Canada’s government and not the US.

It’s a good lesson for both Americans and Canadians as the administration and Congress attempt to push a systemic overhaul of the US health-care system that will cost trillions and push us towards the same kind of single-payer system that Canada has.  When we handle our health-care system like Canada, where will Canadians send the next NICU case they can’t handle?  And where will America send ours?

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Comment pages: 1 2 3 5

Nowhere to run now.

RobCon on June 28, 2009 at 11:04 AM

This is just one more story that terrifies me.
And make no mistake.. Obama knows this.

katy on June 28, 2009 at 11:05 AM

Single prayer system.

the_nile on June 28, 2009 at 11:06 AM

For crying out loud, make an exception on the passport, US. Have we lost our commonsense?

AnninCA on June 28, 2009 at 11:06 AM

We also don’t have neo-natal care in sparsely populated areas.

AnninCA on June 28, 2009 at 11:07 AM

The democrats know the merits of Culling the herd

tomas on June 28, 2009 at 11:09 AM

This could be all ours.

If this guy isn’t on the terror watch list, denying him the ability to see his child is ridiculous. Even if he was, arrangements could be made.

Cindy Munford on June 28, 2009 at 11:10 AM

Visions of the future under Barry’s feckless ‘leadershit’.

omnipotent on June 28, 2009 at 11:13 AM

We also don’t have neo-natal care in sparsely populated areas.

AnninCA on June 28, 2009 at 11:07 AM

But we have plenty of capacity in America; they didn’t have it in Canada anywhere, which is the point.

Ed Morrissey on June 28, 2009 at 11:14 AM

Where will they send babies after they destroy health care here?

rob verdi on June 28, 2009 at 11:15 AM

AnninCA on June 28, 2009 at 11:07 AM

Hamilton, Ontario, Canada is the 9th largest metro in Canada. It hardly qualifies as sparsely populated. Furthermore, the article states that they checked for an open NICU bed across the entire province and came up empty. That’s when they sent the baby across the border for treatment.

Even if we lack NICU care in sparsely populated areas (which Hamilton does not appear to be), I would be surprised if there is a state in the union which does not have at least 1 open NICU bed for a 2lbs premie at all times.

JadeNYU on June 28, 2009 at 11:15 AM

if the demonrats health care reform passes you can expect alot more of this.

SHARPTOOTH on June 28, 2009 at 11:15 AM

We also don’t have neo-natal care in sparsely populated areas.

AnninCA on June 28, 2009 at 11:07 AM

Irrelevant to Ed’s point that single pay exists as a mechanism to cut costs, not improve care.

a capella on June 28, 2009 at 11:15 AM

katy on June 28, 2009 at 11:05 AM

You better hope you don’t need care when Obarfing institutes his Hell-care Plan

blatantblue on June 28, 2009 at 11:16 AM

Thankfully — and this doesn’t mean that the American system is better (after all, at least the couple and their baby are guaranteed care up here, thanks to our public system, even if it’s not perfect) — there was an opening south of the border.

Beyond parody.

Um, clearly, Michael the Canadian, “guarantee” means something different up there from what it means down here.

Or, perhaps — it means exactly the same. The “guarantee” of health care in Canada is…emergency care in the United States.

J.E. Dyer on June 28, 2009 at 11:16 AM

Obamacare is all about Eugenics. A softer, gentler kind of Hitlerian demise.

katy on June 28, 2009 at 11:16 AM

hmmm

I guess this will make people in Canada get passports.

upinak on June 28, 2009 at 11:17 AM

Where will they send babies after they destroy health care here?

rob verdi on June 28, 2009 at 11:15 AM

Tijauana.

Shy Guy on June 28, 2009 at 11:17 AM

AnninCA on June 28, 2009 at 11:07 AM

Yes, but we have it somewhere in and around these sparsely populated areas. We don’t have to ‘send out’. If obama’s plan is allowed to pass, as things stand now, we’ll either have to eventually go to India or there will be one mass revolt against this man and his policies. Personally, I prefer the latter. Never have I encountered a President so bad for this country or so bent on his own agenda that the voice of reason cannot begin to penetrate. And..they called George W. stubborn? He could take lessons from Obama.

jeanie on June 28, 2009 at 11:18 AM

We also don’t have neo-natal care in sparsely populated areas.

AnninCA on June 28, 2009 at 11:07 A

did i miss something? where’s sparsely populated in this post?

SHARPTOOTH on June 28, 2009 at 11:18 AM

I won’t get into the relative merits of the American and Canadian health-care systems here. Suffice it to say that there obviously need to be more neo-natal intensive care unit beds up here.

Oh, you wouldn’t want that! That would only make your infant mortality rates go up. On paper. Better to just let them die as miscarriages, or ship them over here, where they can make our “infant mortality” rates go up. On paper. Our Democrats love that stuff!

Blacklake on June 28, 2009 at 11:18 AM

Ed, you keep relying on anecdotal stories like this to make a case for the American system of health care. If it is so great, how come it looks so crappy when you look at just about any kind of statistical analysis of the entire system?

lexhamfox on June 28, 2009 at 11:19 AM

JadeNYU on June 28, 2009 at 11:15 AM

Did a bit more research (as I know nothing of Canadian geography).

That province-wide search that turned up no empty NICU beds would have included the cities of Toronto (Canada’s most populace city) and Ottawa (the capitol).

JadeNYU on June 28, 2009 at 11:20 AM

upinak on June 28, 2009 at 11:17 AM

Not for long…soon our care will at the same standard as theirs…

ladyingray on June 28, 2009 at 11:20 AM

Sounds like some bureaucrat protecting his turf. This is the diplomatic hogwash at its worst.

fourdeucer on June 28, 2009 at 11:20 AM

If it is so great, how come it looks so crappy when you look at just about any kind of statistical analysis of the entire system?

lexhamfox on June 28, 2009 at 11:19 AM

Why don’t we start with an analysis of the way Medicare and Medicaid are administered?

a capella on June 28, 2009 at 11:22 AM

The single payer system is just one more part of the Cloward Piven strategy. Cripple a nation with endless crisis and force everyone into dependency on the government for everything. Then systematically decide who lives and who dies.

Guess who’ll be doing the dying? Boomers. The quickest way to relieve the strain on the medical system is to greatly reduce the numbers of those it must care for. The biggest numbers and the greatest need will be with the boomers.

Stay healthy. You won’t be getting any help at the latter end of your lives, even though you’ve payed into the system your entire lives. It’s just a sacrifice you’ll have to make, “for the betterment of all”.

We have to stop this crap.

techno_barbarian on June 28, 2009 at 11:22 AM

This situation should not become an issue for the United States. Soft hearted liberals and even some conservatives will jump on this to say that we must open our borders to care of a prenatal baby, or cancer stricken mother, or elderly person on their death bed. I am glad that we had a bed for this baby, but it angers me that many will point to this as an example of why we need to open our borders to care for anyone who seeks care. our life boat is going to sink.

Star20 on June 28, 2009 at 11:23 AM

Take the emotion out of this story (and yes, I think the parents should be sent to Buffalo immediately) and what you are left with are details that need to be examined. Every American needs to hear and understand the developments of this case and the reason why they chose to send the baby across the border. If Toronto was unable to take the child under emergency care, then the Canadian system is indeed the shining example of how destructive the Obamacare plan truly could be.

sherry on June 28, 2009 at 11:23 AM

We also don’t have neo-natal care in sparsely populated areas.

AnninCA on June 28, 2009 at 11:07 AM

That too is a factor of supply and demand. That is a reality under the free market system. But having to travel to the nearest larger city for neo-natal care still beats not having it available at all. Once the USA moves to the Canadian model one of the factors of rationing will be seen in a government accounting office determining what population size is sufficent to be considered appropriate for such facilities. Nothing in the plans for Obamacare indiacte that we can expect them to build things like that in rural areas to improve access.

MikeA on June 28, 2009 at 11:24 AM

One, Canada has *always* transferring infants and children to the US for treatment for at least 30 years.

Two, the American system is definitely better. Not only do they receive better treatment, no one is denied emergency care.

Blake on June 28, 2009 at 11:24 AM

What should upset this writer is that the Canadian taxpayer has to pay for the expensive treatment of a baby born to two lowlifes who had a baby out of wedlock, one of whom is already a convicted criminal. Real conservatism can not abide by that. Let charity be voluntary, not mandatory through taxes. And socialized health care is all about charity through taxation.

keep the change on June 28, 2009 at 11:26 AM

As Michael notes, keeping them away from their child at this critical juncture is needlessly cruel.

That’s a really ridiculous thing to say. The “needlessly” is dumb to say and the “cruel” is inaccurate.

Sometimes, I just don’t get people.

progressoverpeace on June 28, 2009 at 11:28 AM

I am glad that we had a bed for this baby, but it angers me that many will point to this as an example of why we need to open our borders to care for anyone who seeks care. our life boat is going to sink.

Star20 on June 28, 2009 at 11:23 AM

Point back to them that the patient’s government can pick up the tab. They can afford it.

Blake on June 28, 2009 at 11:28 AM

AnninCA on June 28, 2009 at 11:07 AM

They also don’t have good health care in totalitarian third world countries, like the United States will become once the Left has “fixed” all our problems.

Loxodonta on June 28, 2009 at 11:29 AM

lexhamfox on June 28, 2009 at 11:19 AM
I’d be interested in the sources of these statistical analyses and a comparison with the Canadian system. You seem to be saying that you know of these and heve read them.

jeanie on June 28, 2009 at 11:31 AM

lexhamfox on June 28, 2009 at 11:19 AM

Which studies?

All the ones I’ve read have shown that, once you control for the facts that America’s health care industry will use ‘heroic measures’ to attempt to save ridiculously premature babies and people that are extremely sick and near death AND you control for American’s worse health due to our mostly sedentary lifestyles and high-fat diets, our health system is on par with or better than those of other western countries.

Our costs tend to be higher than other countries but single-payer systems don’t magically make things cheaper, they force the costs down artificially which causes fewer people to go into high-risk specialties (why do high-risk when it lacks the high-reward it should naturally have?). This leaves you with situations where you have to ship sick people to another country for treatment because.

I’ll take higher cost and actually available over a system that is free (only if you ignore the higher taxes) and set up in such a way that beds aren’t available for emergency care and sick people wait months and months for procedures that should be done within weeks of discovering an issue.

JadeNYU on June 28, 2009 at 11:31 AM

Hamilton, Ontario, Canada is the 9th largest metro in Canada. It hardly qualifies as sparsely populated. Furthermore, the article states that they checked for an open NICU bed across the entire province and came up empty. That’s when they sent the baby across the border for treatment.

Even if we lack NICU care in sparsely populated areas (which Hamilton does not appear to be), I would be surprised if there is a state in the union which does not have at least 1 open NICU bed for a 2lbs premie at all times.

JadeNYU on June 28, 2009 at 11:15 AM

And it’s the 2nd largest in Ontario and a hour’s drive from Toronto. Definitely not a sparsely populated area.

When Obamacare goes single-payer, we in Canada will see a spike. Don’t know whether it will be in health care costs or mortality rates though.

ProfessorMiao on June 28, 2009 at 11:32 AM

Where did Ann go?

a capella on June 28, 2009 at 11:32 AM

The Canadian government can issue a passport to mom within hours. It would be nice to know what dad’s criminal record is before anyone think he should be allowed entry.

As to cruel — there are plenty of American parents who can not be at their infant or child’s bedside for a number of reasons. It is not cruel. Their child is still getting the best of care. If the parents come to the US, who is going to pay for them to put them up? Canada? I doubt it.

Blake on June 28, 2009 at 11:35 AM

Don’t know whether it will be in health care costs or mortality rates though.

ProfessorMiao on June 28, 2009 at 11:32 AM

Is there any data on relative longevity/life span since they started this? It seems to me, there must be more deaths of critical care needs and elderly people.

a capella on June 28, 2009 at 11:36 AM

When Obamacare goes single-payer, we in Canada will see a spike. Don’t know whether it will be in health care costs or mortality rates though.

ProfessorMiao on June 28, 2009 at 11:32 AM

If the US goes single-payer, the rest of the world can kiss medical advances good-bye, as the US are the ones who have been paying for all of the R+D. No one does anything for any of the socialized systems, since they don’t pay enough to make it worth the while. The world lives off of the medical advances built for the US and driven by the great profits to be had in the US health care market. Without the US, all of that dries up and stops, essentially.

progressoverpeace on June 28, 2009 at 11:36 AM

Happens all the time. There was a story last week about cancer patients going to Buffalo for treatment because it was cheaper (!) and a couple years ago there was a story in Seattle about the number of high-risk pregnant women sent there from Canada because of the lack of facilities north of the border… and as a result, US patients had a hard time finding space for the same condition.

n0doz on June 28, 2009 at 11:37 AM

Never mind the comparisons of the levels of health care, I’d be interested in which demographics in this country are the ones most supportive of Obama’s ambitions. More and more I read about folks who can afford health care choosing not to get it. I’d be interested in identifying this demographic too. These, apparently, are some of the population who would be forced into having it like it or not.

jeanie on June 28, 2009 at 11:38 AM

And the real story will never be written… because it won’t be sensational when someone tries to deliver the BILL!

Who will pay for this? Canada? the parents? or will this go down the “Emergency service” hole?

Romeo13 on June 28, 2009 at 11:39 AM

Yes, that is ultimately the result. Take away the profit incentive and progress will stop,….everyone loses.

a capella on June 28, 2009 at 11:40 AM

We in America need to keep those babies alive to pay the massive tax that strong-man Obama has already committed them to.

If Mr. Obama is smart, he’ll outlaw abortion immediately because even an idiot can realize dead babies pay no taxes.

Think of it not as a fetus, Mr. Obama, think of it as a potential taxpayer whose wealth you will someday be able to loot.

jeff_from_mpls on June 28, 2009 at 11:40 AM

We also don’t have neo-natal care in sparsely populated areas.

AnninCA on June 28, 2009 at 11:07 AM

Why would we? We do have regional care centers and air ambulances.

In fact, didn’t they say they had no air ambulance to transfer Natasha Richardson to a neurosurgeon asap?

Blake on June 28, 2009 at 11:41 AM

I grew up in Hamilton. It is not a small town, but about 400,000 people last time I checked. In Canada, that is big.

I was born in St. Joe’s Hospital myself.

Weird about “Stinson.” There is a Stinson Street etc in Hamilton, so they were an important family at one time.

What you guys may not understand is that you are literally NOT ALLOWED to say that “the American health care system is better” in Canada.

It is the moral equivalent of saying “I wish they’d bring back slavery” or “XXX people are inferior.” You will be shunned. I am not joking.

When asked what made them most proud to be Canadian, the majority answered “our health care system.”

Yes, Canadians chose an inefficient, broken government entitlement as our nation’s greatest “accomplishment.”

We are tiny minded sheep. Please help me escape. Alas, not being a Mexican criminal, I am not welcome in your country.

The last time I crossed the border a few months ago, my companions and I got the third degree by every cop and border guard. We are all non-Muslim, non-Mexican and none of us have a criminal record but were asked dozens of questions by very angry guys in uniforms.

What is with you guys?

fivefeetoffury on June 28, 2009 at 11:41 AM

We also don’t have neo-natal care in sparsely populated areas.

AnninCA on June 28, 2009 at 11:07 AM

From this article at canada(dot)com:

But when Jepp began experiencing labour symptoms last Friday, the unit at Foothills was over capacity with several unexpected pre-term births. There was no room at any other Canadian neonatal intensive care unit, forcing CHR officials to look south of the border.

Jepp was transported to Benefis hospital in Great Falls last Friday — making her the fifth Alberta woman to be transferred south of the border this year because of neonatal shortages in Calgary.

Great Falls, Montana has a population of <60,000. I wouldn’t exactly call that a booming metropolis.

IrishEi on June 28, 2009 at 11:41 AM

Ed, you keep relying on anecdotal stories like this to make a case for the American system of health care. If it is so great, how come it looks so crappy when you look at just about any kind of statistical analysis of the entire system?

lexhamfox on June 28, 2009 at 11:19 AM

Maybe you should look at some different statistics: average wait times for radiation treatment and orthopaedic surgery, number of emergency room closures in Ontario’s urban centers, average wait times for referral to specialist if condition is not evidently and immediately life-threatening, distance travelled for those living away from major urban centers to get radiation and chemotherapy, percentage of population without a primary care physician because of a shortage of doctors, average wait time for an MRI.

The answers are either too long, too far, or way too many.

ProfessorMiao on June 28, 2009 at 11:42 AM

there was an opening south of the border.

Don’t make any judgements but will there be openings south of the border if we too have a system like Canada?

Herb on June 28, 2009 at 11:42 AM

We also don’t have neo-natal care in sparsely populated areas.

AnninCA on June 28, 2009 at 11:07 AM

Oh, I get it. Canada’s state-run health care system is crappy because Canada is a “sparsely populated area.” When single-payer is imposed on the U.S., it will work much better.

You remind me of the Western communist apologists during the ’40s and ’50s who believed communism was infinitely superior to capitalism. When it was pointed out that the Soviet Union and China — communism’s largest practitioners — were both economic basket cases, they rationalized that reality by explaining that Russia and China were both corrupt and really weren’t sufficiently developed to adopt Marxism in the first place.

A Canadian-style health care system will work no better here than it is in Canada. Like communism, its flaws are inherent to the design and can’t be fixed by some clever tweaking.

Even so, people who want to see a certain reality will always find a way to see it, and won’t let inconvenient facts get in the way.

Enjoy the Kool-Aid, Ann.

Cicero43 on June 28, 2009 at 11:43 AM

Tut, tut, tut…illustrating real potential problems in ObamaCare doesn’t do Michelle’s children any good (because they’ll get supreme care no matter what). We should just sit back and bask in the thought that we’ll ALL get access to the same crappy health care possibilities…ya know, spread the wealth as it relates to health care. Hopey Changemas!

Wyznowski on June 28, 2009 at 11:43 AM

If it is so great, how come it looks so crappy when you look at just about any kind of statistical analysis of the entire system?

lexhamfox on June 28, 2009 at 11:19 AM

Let me borrow a page from the hard Left.

Who paid for the statistical studies that — amazingly — prove beyond a shadow of doubt that our Liberty should be taken away as a matter of scientific fact?

Who paid?

I didn’t think you knew. Next time have your facts.

jeff_from_mpls on June 28, 2009 at 11:45 AM

You want your critical care patients transferred to health centers where they will receive the most advanced care — which are not in sparsely populated areas. There are agreements to transfer patients and air transfer teams in place. It works great.

Blake on June 28, 2009 at 11:45 AM

And the real story will never be written… because it won’t be sensational when someone tries to deliver the BILL!

Who will pay for this? Canada? the parents? or will this go down the “Emergency service” hole?

Romeo13 on June 28, 2009 at 11:39 AM

Don’t worry about you all having to pick up the tab, the Ontario health care system will pay for it. They figure that it’s cheaper to export a few than to keep more beds available here if they aren’t constantly in use.

That’s why my mother was released from emergency after 9 hours a couple of weeks rather than admitted for a couple of days, even though she had a cracked pelvis, couldn’t walk and lives alone.

You’re gonna love Obamacare!

ProfessorMiao on June 28, 2009 at 11:46 AM

We also don’t have neo-natal care in sparsely populated areas. AnninCA on June 28, 2009 at 11:07 AM

Back in 2007 a Calgary (pop 1 million) couple gave birth to quadruplets. They did not have enough neo-natal beds then either so they sent them to Great Falls MT (pop 56,000)

While 56,000 is not rural it is certainly not a city of 1 million.

It is sad that a city of 1 million has to depend on a small city for hospital care in another country.

F15Mech on June 28, 2009 at 11:47 AM

Don’t make any judgements but will there be openings south of the border if we too have a system like Canada?

Herb on June 28, 2009 at 11:42 AM

Highly unlikely. A major way to keep costs down is to be sure that there are no beds that are unoccupied. That way you don’t need as many nurses, cleaners, etc. etc.

We’ve only been able to get away with it in Canada without a resulting spike in deaths because you guys have a sane system.

ProfessorMiao on June 28, 2009 at 11:48 AM

Don’t make any judgements but will there be openings south of the border if we too have a system like Canada?

Herb on June 28, 2009 at 11:42 AM

I know a guy in Tijuana, sort of off the radar, you have to knock on his shack with a pattern, you know, knock-knock knock pause knock.

When he answers, whisper my name; also — you gotta give him a fifth of wild turkey in order for him to do your root canal. But be prepared: he uses half the whiskey to numb you up, the other half to get his courage up.

jeff_from_mpls on June 28, 2009 at 11:49 AM

What is with you guys?

fivefeetoffury on June 28, 2009 at 11:41 AM

Just trying to keep our borders safe.:)

a capella on June 28, 2009 at 11:50 AM

We also don’t have neo-natal care in sparsely populated areas.

AnninCA on June 28, 2009 at 11:07 AM

And with ObamaCare we will? There isn’t a neonate born in this country who at this very instant can’t be stabilized as much as possible in a lower-level facility and transferred to a higher level NICU, whether or not that infant’s family has one dime of insurance. I should know, I’m a perinatologist.

Marcus on June 28, 2009 at 11:51 AM

Anninca. yes sparsely populated areas don’t have neo natal facilities, but we do have emergency helicopters to take them for care. Evidently Canada has those same helicopters , they just don’t have any facilities to take them to.

sandee on June 28, 2009 at 11:51 AM

Obama simply will not listen to any side but his own. For a man that everyone says is so smart, this vaunted intelligence seems to be overruled by some need to make ‘reforms’ while at the same time making political hay—no matter how badly thought out they may be or what long term harm amy come of them. Instead of proceeding cautiously(case in point–the new energy bill)he seems determined to undermine this country and get his own name in the history books as some kind of change vanguard hero or such. The smart behave like obama, the wise go slowly, carefully and first do no harm.

jeanie on June 28, 2009 at 11:51 AM

The hell with statistics, let’s look at human beings. I knew a woman who had to get away from her husband who was abusing her and moved to Florida. She received a telephone call from her doctor in NY telling her that some recent blood work indicated that she had leukemia. She was in a motel, no job, no insurance, no money. She opened the yellow pages and looked for hospitals. She found a new one that was dedicated to the treatment of cancer and called them. She explained her situation and they told her to come on down immediately. They didn’t turn her away because she couldn’t pay. They didn’t delay her treatment.

Blake on June 28, 2009 at 11:53 AM

F15Mech on June 28, 2009 at 11:47 AM

Yep. That’s the same story I quoted from here:

IrishEi on June 28, 2009 at 11:41 AM

I was shocked that there was not a single NIC nursery in ALL of Canada for these babies. Not only that–they admit that it was the fifth time that year that it had happened. Mind-boggling for a developed country.

IrishEi on June 28, 2009 at 11:54 AM

When we handle our health-care system like Canada, where will Canadians send the next NICU case they can’t handle? And where will America send ours?

You can be sure that at this moment there are enterprising businessmen setting up shop in Mexico and the Caribbean ready to provide an answer. Americans with the means to do so will always look for the best care. If it is rationed in the U.S. due to Obamacara, they will go overseas. Americans already retire in Central America and the Caribbean, so who’s to say they won’t look for health care there too if it is available?

ujorge on June 28, 2009 at 11:54 AM

We also don’t have neo-natal care in sparsely populated areas.

AnninCA on June 28, 2009 at 11:07 AM

Well that must explain it. Canada = sparsely populated wilderness, hence no neo-natal care.

DarkCurrent on June 28, 2009 at 11:54 AM

Evidently Canada has those same helicopters , they just don’t have any facilities to take them to.

sandee on June 28, 2009 at 11:51 AM

Well, not where ever Natasha Richardson was. They spent hours transporting her by ground when quick treatment was critical.

Blake on June 28, 2009 at 11:55 AM

We also don’t have neo-natal care in sparsely populated areas.

AnninCA on June 28, 2009 at 11:07 AM
Well that must explain it. Canada = sparsely populated wilderness, hence no neo-natal care.

DarkCurrent on June 28, 2009 at 11:54 AM

You gotta laugh. Hamilton sits in the middle of an area known as the “Golden Horseshoe”. It is halfway between Buffalo and Toronto, and is the most densely populated region in the country with about 5-6 million people (in a country of 30 million).

ProfessorMiao on June 28, 2009 at 11:58 AM

Yet another pattern of Leftist psychological projection.

They squeal about the certain danger driving women to the back alleys by limiting the supply [rationing] of abortion.

So why are these same Leftists rationing neo-natal care?

jeff_from_mpls on June 28, 2009 at 12:00 PM

jeanie on June 28, 2009 at 11:51 AM

He may be smart, but, he sure isn’t wise.

I think he’s spent so long with the people around him telling him how gosh darned smart he is that he’s forgotten that he doesn’t know everything.

Like an Egyptian Pharaoh, if he thinks it, it must be so, for it has come from the mind of a god.

President Obama can’t last more than a few seconds with a hard question being asked before he gets petulant. In other words, you ask him something he doesn’t automatically have a pat answer for and his reaction is anger. That’s not a guy that sits down and thinks through the tough questions, weighing all the evidence, and comes to a rationally thought out decision. That’s a guy that makes snap judgments, can’t defend them (as they’re not thought through) and then gets angry when he’s questioned because he’s so smart he’s right simply because that’s the answer he came to.

JadeNYU on June 28, 2009 at 12:02 PM

Ed, you keep relying on anecdotal stories like this to make a case for the American system of health care. If it is so great, how come it looks so crappy when you look at just about any kind of statistical analysis of the entire system?

lexhamfox on June 28, 2009 at 11:19 AM

Statistical analysis? How’s this for a statistic:

Number of Beds for this 2 lb Premie: Zero.

Chaz706 on June 28, 2009 at 12:05 PM

OT/ read Billy Mays the infommercial guy died this morning.

sandee on June 28, 2009 at 12:06 PM

Don’t worry about you all having to pick up the tab, the Ontario health care system will pay for it.

ProfessorMiao on June 28, 2009 at 11:46 AM

My guess is the Ontario health care system will pay for this at THEIR rates, not what the actual cost to the hospital is.

It will be like the Medicare reimbursment rates, where the Hospitals LOSE money on every procedure funded by Medicare.

Romeo13 on June 28, 2009 at 12:07 PM

Single prayer system.

the_nile on June 28, 2009 at 11:06 AM

Winner.

BPD on June 28, 2009 at 12:07 PM

Morissey’s point about supply-demand and the public vs. private sector health care options is a good one. The government can’t spend too much of the budget on health care so it gets rationed. This is why we have a shortage of facilities and doctors in Canada. In a private system the determinant is profit, so when there is a shortage it gets fixed in order to make a profit.

That said, the private system had limitations. Although in the US emergency care is generally provided regardless of insurance, this is not guaranteed. Virtuous doctors/staff will do it, sure, but what about others? And you must admit, if those who can’t pay are always detoured to the facilities that will treat them for free, it can put the generous staff/doctors out of business.

Bottom line, if you have a virtuous citizenry, private health care is good. If your citizenry is selfish then public care is probably better overall since it prevents the poor from being detoured from one hospital to the next until they find one willing to treat them (subject to the supply/demand problem mentioned above). Canada got pretty selfish some time ago, and the US is quickly catching up.

The best solution was the one in place 300 years ago. Hospitals were run by nuns and monks, who worked for God rather than profit (thus keeping costs to a minimum). Everyone got treated, money was provided by the Church (from voluntary donations of the people), and no one was turned away. With the Protestant revolt this model was demeaned and discouraged in favor of profit-oriented medicine. Hence the problems today.

Gaunilon on June 28, 2009 at 12:10 PM

If the US goes single-payer, the rest of the world can kiss medical advances good-bye, as the US are the ones who have been paying for all of the R+D. No one does anything for any of the socialized systems, since they don’t pay enough to make it worth the while….

Most if not all medical advances originate at the University level. These “breakthroughs” are usually government funded. The big Pharms do little but create “me-too” drugs and act as patent factories.

The world lives off of the medical advances built for the US and driven by the great profits to be had in the US health care market. Without the US, all of that dries up and stops, essentially.

The world libves on breakthroughs at Universities in Israel, England, France and a whole host of other countries.

harry on June 28, 2009 at 12:11 PM

I’d like to point everyone to this post by Mitchieville on the same subject, a Canadian blogger who has had similar difficulties.

William Teach on June 28, 2009 at 12:11 PM

Lets not forget to thank Muslims and Islam for the passport requirement.

BL@KBIRD on June 28, 2009 at 12:12 PM

Awesome! Six states want to nullify Obamacare. Let the revolution begin!

If you live in one of these states (Ed, you do!) how about someone providing regular updates on these efforts.

DerKrieger on June 28, 2009 at 12:18 PM

Canada sucks.

bluelightbrigade on June 28, 2009 at 12:19 PM

We also don’t have neo-natal care in sparsely populated areas.

AnninCA on June 28, 2009 at 11:07 AM

Look, stop coming up with moronic excuses for the failures of socialized medicine. Not only is Hamilton Ontario not a sparsely populated area but neonatal care is not even close to being the only specialized medical care for which there is an extreme shortage. For example, an old friend of mine’s father waited close to a year to see a rheumatologist for his rheumatoid arthritis by which time he had suffered severe bone damage due to the Prednisone he was on and was not able to tolerate. He needed a different form of treatment but needed a rheumatologist to get it. There are provinces where cancer care is virtually nonexistent etc. etc. The list goes on and on.

I know enough physicians who practice in Canada to understand how the system works. The same thing will happen here in the US if we’re foolish enough go down this road. Nobody should delude themselves into thinking we can do it better than the other countries that have tried it and failed.

eyedoc on June 28, 2009 at 12:20 PM

You gotta laugh. Hamilton sits in the middle of an area known as the “Golden Horseshoe”. It is halfway between Buffalo and Toronto, and is the most densely populated region in the country with about 5-6 million people (in a country of 30 million).

I didn’t pay attention, really, to the actual location. I presume this is some type of extraordinary care needed. Our emergency system would not, in any case, go to that length.

If you happen to stumble into the hospital, they would help if any help was possible. If not, you’d just be out of luck.

AnninCA on June 28, 2009 at 12:20 PM

Where will they send babies after they destroy health care here?

rob verdi on June 28, 2009 at 11:15 AM

There won’t be nearly as many babies after they institute maximum # of children limits per household and offer free on demand abortion (and mandatory abortion if you’re over your child limit or baby is defective in some way)…problem solved.

jwp1964 on June 28, 2009 at 12:20 PM

Regarding the nullification of Obamacare I’d like to know how these states would avoid the federal taxation the program would require.

DerKrieger on June 28, 2009 at 12:21 PM

Mitchiville knows what he’s talking about. Runs a great site too. Do check out that post.

My mother was told her ovarian cancer was chronic constipation for about a year.

My grandfather was told his shingles was “a really bad sunburn.”

My mother in law waited years for a knee replacement and was in excruciating pain because her bones were literally rubbing together…

I have lupus. I am now in remission but stayed sick much longer than I needed to because I had to wait months between doctor visits. By the time I was taken really seriously and put on the meds I needed, I was bedridden and weighed 89 pounds.

Yes, I am grateful I was able to get “free” treatment. I grew up below the poverty line and was just a broke freelance writer at the time.

However: had I been able to purchase private medical insurance (it is illegal here) I would have and so would my family, long before we got sick. We were poor but not stupid. We would have bought a decent affordable medical package matter of factly, just like we paid into an affordable funeral package, life insurance, got wills, had real bank accounts etc.

We are not allowed a private option.

fivefeetoffury on June 28, 2009 at 12:23 PM

With a National Health Care plan in America this baby would not have lived.
Nor will the thousands of premature babies born in America. You will get rationing on both ends of the spectrum. Abortions will necessarily Skyrocket to coin an Obama phrase. America may deny mothers the chance to even deliver babies that are premature.

In 1996 my first son was born 5 weeks premature. My wife developed preclampsia (high blood pressure) it was touch and go for a few hours but
my son was delivered via c-section at 4 lbs 5 oz.

He was in neo-natel care for 3 weeks. We were insured and it cost about $100,000 which the insurance piad most of it. I cannot imagine what would have happened if we had a single payer rationed system like Obama wants to put in place. I would imagine that I would have paid for two burial plots instead of enjoying a healthy, happy, carefree 12 year old boy with a loving mother.

Remember, nothing in life is free, especially your freedom. Before you wish for government provided healthcare just remember that you may have to give up life with no choice in the matter.

izoneguy on June 28, 2009 at 12:23 PM

harry on June 28, 2009 at 12:11 PM

harry, you sound like an MD. I’ve heard that exact same argument from all of my doctor friends. The me-too drugs need first drugs to be me-too off of. Who develops the first ones?

It is true that much of the basic research for drugs is conducted at the university level, but there is a gigantic chasm between theory and application, and it is very costly. Why do you think that European drug companies won’t even look at producing drugs that are sellable into the American market? Why do you think that Europeans are so mad at their own drug companies? From what you say, there shouldn’t be any difference between drugs that are developed for the American market and any other drugs, but that isn’t the case. Why is that?

On top of that, medical research involves a lot more than just drugs, and almost all of the development occurs because of the money in the American market. If you take that out, you will lose that research and you will also lose the people doing it, who will gravitate to other areas where they can earn money.

You’ll see. We’ll all see.

progressoverpeace on June 28, 2009 at 12:27 PM

Meanwhile, our overall health report card is what….37th in the world?

LOL*

You guys crack me up.

AnninCA on June 28, 2009 at 12:28 PM

izoneguy on June 28, 2009 at 12:23 PM

US CND
Infant Mortality/1000 live births 6.8 5.3

harry on June 28, 2009 at 12:28 PM

I didn’t pay attention, really, to the actual location. I presume this is some type of extraordinary care needed. Our emergency system would not, in any case, go to that length.

If you happen to stumble into the hospital, they would help if any help was possible. If not, you’d just be out of luck.

AnninCA on June 28, 2009 at 12:20 PM

If you call acute care for preemies “extraordinary” and see nno reason why a developed country should have to resort to exporting its patients to a different country to provide it, then I don’t know what to say. Except get your head out of the sand.

ProfessorMiao on June 28, 2009 at 12:29 PM

I thought the obama administration prioritizes “empathy” over rule of law?

KS Rex on June 28, 2009 at 12:30 PM

harry on June 28, 2009 at 12:11 PM

Initially, perhaps, but getting the breakthrough into a usable form in large quantities still is done by the private sector. Timelines are the driving force in a commercial, for profit enterprise,..those are an alien concept at the university level. Without private enterprise carrying the ball, mass scale development will never happen.

a capella on June 28, 2009 at 12:31 PM

Even the MJ story is turning into a very interesting report card on our own doctors in the US. Just heard that abuse of prescription drugs now surpasses all other drug abuse combined.

Hmmmmmmm*….now, just who is so desperate for customers that they’ll write those scrips?

And just why do we give them this power?

AnninCA on June 28, 2009 at 12:32 PM

Why do you think that European drug companies won’t even look at producing drugs that are sellable into the American market?

Er .. that should read “that AREN’T sellable into the American market?”

progressoverpeace on June 28, 2009 at 12:32 PM

http://health.usnews.com/usnews/health/articles/060924/2healy.htm

If you counted infant mortality the same everywhere and took out murders and auto accidents, I’m sure people would be shocked at how much longer the life expectancy in the US is.

Ann NY on June 28, 2009 at 12:33 PM

Ah, and then there are the surgical lies. Back surgery is performed how often and what’s the true rate of success?

Truth in advertising anyone?

AnninCA on June 28, 2009 at 12:33 PM

AnninCA on June 28, 2009 at 12:28 PM

On whose stats are you baseing that on. I wish you would visit our MD Anderson Cancer Center and see how signs are in 11 different languages. People comae from all over the world for treatment because it is the best in the world. Everyone would love to have American health care available to them.

HoustonRight on June 28, 2009 at 12:33 PM

Comment pages: 1 2 3 5