Trump’s criticism of Canadian healthcare triggers backlash

by Leo Almazora12 Oct 2016
It seems that everyone has something to say about Canadian healthcare. Vancouver orthopedic surgeon Dr. Brian Day has accused B.C.’s public healthcare system of subjecting patients to unreasonable wait times. Federal Health Minister Jane Philpott has asked for more provincial accountability for healthcare spending, while provincial health ministers want more funding.

The latest person to weigh in on the issue was Donald Trump. In the town hall debate held this past Sunday, the controversial Republican nominee for the presidency remarked that a single-payer plan, which he mistakenly claimed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton was pushing for, would be a disaster that was “somewhat similar to Canada.”

“When [Canadians] need a big operation, when something happens, they come into the United States, in many cases because their system is so slow,” he continued.

Many Canadians weren’t having it.

While some went on social media and simply bristled at Trump’s assertion, others countered with statistics: 2015 figures estimating that less than 0.2% of the Canadian population left the country in 2014 to avail of non-emergency healthcare in other countries; a 2009 study published in the American Journal of Public Health that reported 45,000 deaths per year in the U.S. due to lack of care; and a Canadian life expectancy of 81 years compared to 78 years in the US.

Others shared their own favorable experiences under the Canadian healthcare system, including Canadian singer-songwriter Jann Arden, who received a pacemaker in 1982 as a Canadian citizen and has described her health since as “brilliant.”

Trump’s recent remarks does not align with a stance he adopted in a 2015 interview with MSNBC, in which he claimed to have few qualms with a single-payer system but doubted that it would work in the US.

Related stories:
Feds, provinces at loggerheads over health funding
Pay care won’t solve public healthcare shortfalls, say experts


  • by Kenneth Corber 2016-10-12 11:52:19 AM

    I am a Canadian living in Quebec.
    I believe that our healthcare system is much worse than Trump describes.
    The only time you get quick help is in the case of a heart attack or a stroke.
    Wait times for all other services are horrendous.
    If someone has cancer, surgery waits are crazy.

  • by Real Canadian 2016-10-12 2:01:02 PM

    Man (above comment) are clueless, yes there are some wait times, but overall the system in Canada is a real blessing and works. I wonder what the people would say who receive no health care, or pay huge premiums from other countries if they had access to our system. Yes, there is a wait if you walk into Emergency with a non-emergency issue but other than that surgery times are fairly good for serious issues and your above comment on cancer is totally inaccurate and outright false. It actually sounds more like fear mongering typical of Trump supporters There is room for improvement as in the American system, but for universal healthcare our system is quite good and the quality of care is great.

  • by Unreal, Canadian 2016-10-17 10:19:28 AM