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A Canadian doctor weighs in on America's health care debate

Canadian Living
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A Canadian doctor weighs in on America's health care debate

Dr. Danielle Martin Earlier this week our very own Dr. Danielle Martin appeared in front of U.S. senate to tell politicians south of the border about Canada's health care system as Americans continue the debate about their own health care plans. As with all recent discussions about America's health care, tensions were high. Dr. Martin, who is vice-president of medical affairs and health system solutions at Women's College Hospital and has a regular column appearing in Canadian Living's Health section, was one of many health care specialists invited to speak to senate. With representatives from countries all over the world in attendance, Canada’s Dr. Martin was perhaps the most outspoken. She stood her ground as senators fired questions about quality of care, wait times and the supposed brain drain of doctors south of the border. Perhaps the most powerful part of the discussion was when a Republican senator from North Carolina asked Dr. Martin if she knew how many Canadians die each year from wait times. Her response: “I don’t sir, but I know there are 45,000 in America who die waiting because they don't have insurance at all.” Dr. Martin's bottom line? Canada offers health care for all citizens, no matter their economic situation, because every person deserves help when they are sick. That's a principle we can all stand behind. It makes us proud to be Canadian. Importantly, Dr. Martin pointed out that giving access to all through a single-payer system doesn't hurt the health outcomes of Canadians. And though we don't have to pay the prices Americans do, we still get quality care and we benefit from the work of innovative doctors and scientists. Sure, our health care system has its problems. As Dr. Martin told the senate, we have issues with wait times (many Canadians have to wait too long for surgeries) and prescription drugs are not covered the way doctors' visits are (an oversight, she says, from when the health system was established decades ago, and a problem that has now led many Canadians to forgo their expensive prescription drugs). These are things that we need to work on as a country, but in the meantime we can take pride in the fact that our country cares for people regardless of wealth. Watch the full video here. [HTML1]
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A Canadian doctor weighs in on America's health care debate

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