Canada’s Government-Run Health Care Buckles Under COVID-19

By Peter St. Onge:

In an editorial last week, the Los Angeles Times declared it conventional wisdom that COVID-19 proves Bernie Sanders was right about “Medicare for All,” because with universal health coverage, the government wouldn’t have to send emergency aid to “hospitals and state health programs.”

This assertion is completely false, however, and we know because billions in emergency aid from the federal government is precisely what’s happening in Canada.

Canada is experiencing a surge in serious COVID-19 cases, with eight new deaths per million April 8 compared to nine deaths per million in the much-larger U.S. Total deaths in Canada were up to 435 per day.

Canadian society essentially is on lockdown, with schools and public events closed, police fining house parties, and provinces, including Quebec, closing all nonessential businesses.

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Like the U.S., Canada began to see widespread shortages in health-related supplies, from masks and personal protective equipment to testing reagents and vaccine manufacturing capacity.

Also like the U.S., the overarching concern in Canada has been “bending the curve” of infections, using compulsory social distancing mandates that raise constitutional questions.

Finally, like the U.S. and contrary to the Los Angeles Times, Canada’s federal government has committed to billions for cash-strapped health agencies and hospitals across the country, with intense pressure for more.

Indeed, that spending sparked a bitter showdown in Parliament as the opposition balked at the government’s request to spend “all money required to do anything.”

What gives Canada such urgency to keep the infection curve down is that, going on decades now, the single dominating feature of Canadian health care is shortages.

As early as March 20, Reuters news service quoted the chief of staff of one of Ontario’s newest hospitals as saying, “You’ve got people in broom closets and auditoriums and conference rooms across the country.”

Read more: The Daily Signal

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