Toronto Dr. Danielle Martin was on hand in Washington Wednesday night to cheer for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’s new universal Medicare plan.
Brandishing her green Ontario Heath Insurance Plan card, Martin gushed about how she didn’t have to pay a cent when she went to the hospital to have a baby.
“I just handed over this card, my Canadian health care card to my doctor, and that was it,” Martin said. “I wish that all of my American neighbors could experience the same simplicity in their moments of need.”
Martin has been in Washington before, touting the alleged benefits of the single-payer, universal Medicare plan that Canadians have been using for almost 50 years. The Canadian plan is administered by the provinces but largely funded through the federal government’s tax collection.
Sanders is telling everyone that his health-care plan will cost about $1.3 billion to initiate — but, as Martin could tell him, health-care costs have a habit of escalating.
The Canadian physician was one of several doctors whom Sanders invited to help him sell his health-care plan, which, like the Canadian version, would offer “free” health care to every American through the use of a special health-care card that the federal government would issue.
Sanders invited Martin and several American doctors and health-care professionals to Washington to help him pitch legislation called Medicare for All, which would scrap out-of-pocket expenses and give coverage to Americans with a government-issued ID card.
Several high-profile Democrats are lining-up behind the independent senator, and single-payer health care is fast becoming party dogma.
But Martin had some bad news for those Democrats on Thursday afternoon when she spoke with Sanders on his live podcast.
“There is concern about waiting time, for example,” Sanders noted.
After suggesting that Canadians do not necessarily wait for urgent operations, she admitted wait times do exist.
“Having said that, we do have a problem with wait times for what we call elective or non-urgent procedures,” Martin said.
“So how long will it take me in the average?” Sanders asked.
“It depends on where you are in the country. Sometimes it’s a few months, sometimes it’s a year,” Martin said.
“In some places, it’s sometimes been even longer than that, that people wait for a hip or a knee replacement,” she said.
However, even with this revelation, Martin didn’t touch on the true cost of Canadian health care. A recent report from the conservative Canadian think-tank, the Fraser Institute, showed the real cost of Canadian health care. Though Martin might not have been charged by the hospital where she gave birth, she had already paid for the medical service with her taxes. The average Canadian family spends more than $12,000 a year on health care.
She didn’t mention wait times either, which can be many months for something as simple as a hip replacement. In 2016, 63,000 Canadians left the country to seek the health care that they couldn’t find or couldn’t wait for in Canada. Most times they went to the U.S.