A Canadian politician has made the decision to come to the United States to undergo heart surgery and that has touched off a debate about the values of national health-care.
The premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, Danny Williams, has chosen to come to the United States for cardiac surgery. Williams is not finding himself under fire from those who defend the Canadian health-care system, which has also been a favorite example in the United States for proponents of a government-run system.
On Monday Williams left Canada for the United States, but it is unclear which hospital he is headed towards or what kind of surgery he will be undergoing.
The Newfoundland Deputy Premier Kathy Dunderdale did say that having the surgery in Newfoundland was not an option. That was supported by Canadian Senator Wilbert Keon, who is a retired heart surgeon and said that Newfoundland does not have the sort of, "post-surgery technical support to allow all advanced complicated procedures to be performed there."
Keon did go on to say though that he could not understand what could be done in the U.S. that couldn't be handled in Canada.
That point was disputed by Dr. Marc Siegel, who is both an internist and Fox News contributor.
Siegel said, "You would not find a U.S. governor going to Canada for surgery. We'd be putting our quality of care at risk if we went to a single-payer system like Canada."
Siegel pointed out that should the United States move to a system similar to that of Canada then we would see people leaving the United States, much like Williams has done to his home country of Canada, to get the best of the best care possible.
Williams, who is a millionaire and former lawyer, it was pointed out may have private health insurance which might not have been accepted at Canadian hospitals. Still, Dunderdale said, "I would expect that he is eligible for all the rest of us would be in terms of our own private insurance or government insurance, and I'm sure there's anything over and above that, the premier would certainly take care of it himself."