Sunday, May 28, 2017

Dave Lindorff: American conservatives love to bash Canadian health care — but U.S. corporations love it

Canada's affordable, efficient and widely popular single-payer system saves millions for U.S. corporations

President Donald Trump has been pushing hard, along with Republicans in Congress, to eliminate former President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act. But as he and leaders of the Senate and House struggle to come up with some alternative health care law, they might ask themselves why large companies like General Motors, Ford and Chrysler (now Fiat Chrysler) over recent decades have shifted roughly half their car and truck production — and the jobs that go with them — across the Detroit River into Canada. 
Here’s one big reason they did it: Canada’s government-run single-payer health system, known as Medicare — to be clear, not the same Medicare as the American health care system for senior citizens — lowers those auto companies’ health care costs from more than $15,000 per worker in the United States to just a few thousand dollars in Canada, with all Canadian taxpayers, not just employees and their employers, picking up the tab. 
Although few if any executives of large firms in the U.S. have advocated a similar single-payer system here, executives of Canadian subsidiaries of those same companies not only say they like the system, but enthusiastically make use of it not just for their workers, but for themselves and their families. In fact, a decade ago, those executives of U.S. Canadian subsidiaries joined with executives and union presidents of Canadian-based firms to lobby the Canadian government to expand and increase funding for Medicare, seeking to have it cover long-term care, dental care and drugs. 
Nobody would call Francis Buckley, a professor of contract law at George Mason University in Virginia, a liberal. A Canadian by birth who became a naturalized U.S. citizen a few years ago, Buckley is a senior editor of the conservative American Spectator magazine, and was an occasional speechwriter for Donald Trump last year during the presidential campaign. But he also sits on the board of Physicians for a National Health Program, an advocacy group for single-payer health care in the U.S. Buckley said, “My experience with Canada’s health system is that it works very well, and at about half the cost per person of the U.S.” 
Buckley added, “Trump in the past has said good things about Canada’s Medicare system. Ideologically I don’t think he’s opposed to it. But given the fecklessness of the Republicans in Congress, he may feel that it would be too hard to push through.”
American conservatives love to bash Canadian health care

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