Canadian province premier bails on single-payer system for surgery

posted at 9:25 am on February 2, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

Last August, in the middle of a season of politician-roasting town halls over the government overhaul of the American health-care system, the Detroit Free Press reported that our neighbors to the north had begun contracting with American hospitals to handle overflow from their oft-praised single-payer system.  The effort by Canada attempted to legitimize a natural flow of people with means across the border to seek the immediate care that Canada’s fully-public system could not provide.  That story didn’t get too much traction in either the US or Canada, mainly due to the efforts of politicians in both countries insisting that central control of the health-care sector is necessary for reform.

However, that may change now that a prominent politician in Canada has followed the same path as many of his fellow citizens in order to save his own life:

Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Danny Williams is set to undergo heart surgery this week in the United States.

CBC News confirmed Monday that Williams, 60, left the province earlier in the day and will have surgery later in the week.

The premier’s office provided few details, beyond confirming that he would have heart surgery and saying that it was not necessarily a routine procedure.

If an American governor had to go outside the US to seek the kind of immediate care he needed, that would be considered scandalous.  In fact, if an American governor had to leave his or her own state to seek expert care, I’d expect it to be a fairly controversial move, unless it was treatment for a rather exotic malady that perhaps only a Mayo clinic could handle.

In this case, one of the governing elite that insists on imposing a single-payer system on the rest of the country has opted out of it when the going got tough. Williams passionately defended the socialist system in Canada as recently as 2008, as Ezra Levant and Kate at Small Dead Animals note:

The motto among the statists seems to be: State-controlled access for thee, instant access for me.

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