Let's hope Rudy has the last laugh on Hillary Care

Marc Sheppard
"If we do Hillary care or socialized medicine, Canadians will have no place to go to get their health care."

That line from former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani drew plenty of laughs at Tuesday's Republican debate. 

Sure, Michael Moore's absurd fantasy that our northern neighbor's rationed government-run health care system is one to be coveted rings pretty funny.  But the underlying realities are fatally serious.

We know that outlandishly long and sometimes life-threatening waiting lists have forced Canada to use American hospitals as a convenient safety-valve to relieve the pressure when public outcry bloats.  In fact, according to Michael Turner of the Cato Institute, "about one out of every seven Canadian physicians sends someone to the United States every year for treatment."

Additionally, wealthy Canadian cardiac patients often avoid the dreadful wait by having their surgery performed here in the states on their own dime. That's why it came as little surprise when a 2006 report by the Fraser Institute found that a California heart-surgery center has actually been advertising its services in a Vancouver newspaper.

But a report by Fox News on the very day after Giuliani's joke really puts the president's fear that the proposed expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) is a dangerous backdoor to "Hillary Care" into perspective.

It seems a nascent baby boom in British Columbia has resulted in a spike in premature births and both mothers and newborns requiring special care.  Alberta and Ontario are also "stretched to capacity," with no room available for preemies in their neonatal intensive care units either.

As a result, at least 40 pregnant Canadian women have been airlifted to American hospitals to give birth this year alone.  Canadian officials admit that the system Moore loves so much is actually in trouble, "citing not enough money for more equipment and staff to handle high risk births."

Meanwhile, socialized medicine proponents in Washington are dangerously close to raising the income ladder for SCHIP high enough to include middle income families, many of whom may "crowd out" of existing private insurance plans.  Ironically, as Fox's report demonstrates, socialized rationing plans and their inevitable byproduct - waiting lists - while dangerous in cardiac care, are utterly untenable to prenatal and infant care. 

And should the left's not-so-veiled dreams that such an expansion eventually whet public appetite for extending nanny-state coverage to all come true on Election Day ‘08, so might the premise of Rudy's joke become reality.

In that event, you can add this laugh-silencing thought to the gag's payoff -- Neither will many Americans.
"If we do Hillary care or socialized medicine, Canadians will have no place to go to get their health care."

That line from former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani drew plenty of laughs at Tuesday's Republican debate. 

Sure, Michael Moore's absurd fantasy that our northern neighbor's rationed government-run health care system is one to be coveted rings pretty funny.  But the underlying realities are fatally serious.

We know that outlandishly long and sometimes life-threatening waiting lists have forced Canada to use American hospitals as a convenient safety-valve to relieve the pressure when public outcry bloats.  In fact, according to Michael Turner of the Cato Institute, "about one out of every seven Canadian physicians sends someone to the United States every year for treatment."

Additionally, wealthy Canadian cardiac patients often avoid the dreadful wait by having their surgery performed here in the states on their own dime. That's why it came as little surprise when a 2006 report by the Fraser Institute found that a California heart-surgery center has actually been advertising its services in a Vancouver newspaper.

But a report by Fox News on the very day after Giuliani's joke really puts the president's fear that the proposed expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) is a dangerous backdoor to "Hillary Care" into perspective.

It seems a nascent baby boom in British Columbia has resulted in a spike in premature births and both mothers and newborns requiring special care.  Alberta and Ontario are also "stretched to capacity," with no room available for preemies in their neonatal intensive care units either.

As a result, at least 40 pregnant Canadian women have been airlifted to American hospitals to give birth this year alone.  Canadian officials admit that the system Moore loves so much is actually in trouble, "citing not enough money for more equipment and staff to handle high risk births."

Meanwhile, socialized medicine proponents in Washington are dangerously close to raising the income ladder for SCHIP high enough to include middle income families, many of whom may "crowd out" of existing private insurance plans.  Ironically, as Fox's report demonstrates, socialized rationing plans and their inevitable byproduct - waiting lists - while dangerous in cardiac care, are utterly untenable to prenatal and infant care. 

And should the left's not-so-veiled dreams that such an expansion eventually whet public appetite for extending nanny-state coverage to all come true on Election Day ‘08, so might the premise of Rudy's joke become reality.

In that event, you can add this laugh-silencing thought to the gag's payoff -- Neither will many Americans.