Avoid U.S. health model: Clinton
The answer to Canada's health-care woes does not lie in the "insane" system in place south of the border, former U.S. president Bill Clinton said last night.
Speaking in Toronto, Mr. Clinton said that reform may be needed in Canada, but he argued forcefully that the U.S. model is a "colossal waste of money" that is "killing" his country competitively.
"It's a good thing, your health care system, with all of its problems," Mr. Clinton told supporters of the inaugural World Leaders Forum, which he co-headlined with Israeli Vice-Premier Shimon Peres.
Mr. Clinton said that he was familiar with the Chaoulli decision of the Supreme Court of Canada, in which the justices ruled that the public system was too slow and struck down a Quebec prohibition on private health insurance. Arguing that the United States had made a mess of health care, he encouraged Canadians to study instead how other countries have tackled these issues.
"Conduct a public set of hearings on every other advanced health-care system and see who solved that problem best," he said. "Surely there's somebody who has figured out how to solve this problem."
Mr. Clinton, who failed in his own attempt to overhaul the U.S. health-care system during his presidency, pointed out that the portion of health costs spent on administration in the United States is nearly twice that of any other industrialized nation. He noted that health costs for American auto makers are up to 15 times their Japanese counterparts, even if all the manufacturing is being done in the United States.
"Don't do anything that will lead to increased administration costs and letting the financing tail wag the health-care dog," he warned.