Sen. Bernie Sanders was in Toronto Saturday to examine Canada’s health care system in action. The failed Democratic presidential candidate went on a whirlwind tour of three hospitals as he continues to press for Canadian-style universal Medicare for the United States.
Sanders pronounced his visit a success as he praised the “innovative” single payer system that has existed in Canada for about 50 years.
Sanders says American critics of Canadian health care are always declaring that it is not innovative, but the independent senator disagrees.
“What we heard was incredibly innovative. In fact, they are proud to be doing things that are leading the world. I think it is not a fair argument to say that the system here is not a strong system and innovative system,” Sanders told reporters at a news conference.
Sanders suggested Americans have a lot to learn about how other countries address health care needs but they don’t do so.
“We do not in the United States do a good job in looking around the rest of the world and asking the questions that have to be asked,” he said Saturday.
Sanders cited Sinai Health System’s neonatal intensive care unit as an example of Canadian innovation. The facility offers private rooms for infants.
In his quest to bring Canadian health care to the U.S., the senator has previously enlisted the assistance of Canadian doctor Danielle Martin, who has spoken at Sanders’ events about the “simplicity” of Canadian Medicare.
However, neither Sanders nor Martin have discussed some of the pitfalls of that system, including data recently released from the Fraser Institute revealing that 63,000 Canadians left the country to seek medical treatment that they could not obtain at all or in a timely manner within their own country. The majority of them went to the United States for surgery or other operations.
The think-tank also reported that the average Canadian family spends over $12,000 in taxes on government-funded health care.