Canada good model for Green Mountain Care

June 29, 2012

Burlington Free Press

I would like to respond to the letter “Canada Wrong Model,” by Mr. Dan McCauliffe, in the June 10 Free Press. Mr. McCauliffe wrote that “Canadian-style health care is a bad model for Green Mountain Care.” There are several points in this letter that need to be addressed or clarified.

First, I was unaware that the Canadian Health Care system was the model that the Green Mountain Care was going to emulate in full. It has never been explicitly stated, either in act 48 or at any other time that I remember. If it is, or even if Green Mountain Care ends up containing just a few elements of the Canadian system, I hope that the board goes all the way with it.

Another point is how Mr. McCauliffe wrote that “a 2010 study found Canada dead last in timeliness and quality of health care compared to six other developed countries…” This study was done by something called the Fraser Institute. The Fraser Institute is a right-wing Canadian think tank that has had close ties to such entities as Exxonmobil and the Koch Brothers. According to Wikipedia their “stated mission is to ‘measure, study, and communicate the impact of competitive markets and government intervention on the welfare of individuals.’”

What is left out of the Fraser Institute’s “calculations,” is that every Canadian has health insurance. Canadians do not have to face 10, 20, 30 percent premium increases every year and thousands of dollars of deductibles before their insurance kicks in. Canadians do not have to fight insurance companies or lose their insurance from job loss or employers changing plans because they are too expensive. Patients are not considered medical losses in Canada.
I hope that Green Mountain Care Board does use Canada as a model.