Fox News still falsely comparing health care reform legislation to Canadian system

››› ››› JUSTIN BERRIER

Fox News has seized upon reports that Canadian Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Danny Williams is seeking medical treatment in the United States to criticize health care reform, claiming that his medical decision casts doubt on the Canadian system and that the Democrats' health care reform legislation would "change our system to be more like Canada's." In fact, the health care legislation proposed by both the House and Senate is not modeled after the Canadian single-payer system and maintains the majority of the private health care industry.

Fox News uses Canadian premier's heart surgery to attack health care reform

Johnson: "Government-run health care ... isn't cracked up to what some people say." On the February 3 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, Fox News legal analyst Peter Johnson Jr. used the report that Williams traveled to the United States for heart surgery to attack health care reform. Co-host Steve Doocy suggested that health care reform is an attempt to model the American health care system after Canada's by claiming, "This is not good if you're going to say, OK, the Canadian system, which perhaps we could model ours on, is great." Johnson replied, "Government-run health care apparently ... isn't cracked up to what some people say."

Van Susteren asks, "[S]hould we really change our system to be more like Canada's?" On the February 3 edition of Fox News' On the Record, host Greta Van Susteren introduced a segment about Williams' heart surgery by saying, "If you think we should have more government-run health care, listen to this." After explaining Williams' decision, Van Susteren asked, "So, if this guy is leaving Canada for treatment, should we really change our system to be more like Canada's?"

Doocy: "Canada has been held up to be a model" for health care reform. On the February 4 edition of Fox & Friends, co-host Brian Kilmeade stated: "President Obama [was] talking to Democrats yesterday about pushing through health care reform. But if an overhaul is such a good idea, why is a popular Canadian official choosing to come to the U.S. for care?" Doocy claimed that Williams' decision had made him "a poster boy for the other side that is against health care in this country, because Canada has been held up to be a model." Fox News contributor Dick Morris responded by asserting that he had heard from an AARP "competitor group" that "our system will be exactly like the Canadian system if Obama has his way." Morris continued the comparison by calling health care reform legislation "the government takeover of the 16 percent of our economy that's health care."

Carlson: "Many people say that health care reform would turn us into Canada." On the February 4 edition of Fox & Friends, co-host Gretchen Carlson asked cancer survivor Amy Kaplan, "Do you have any concern when you hear the reports in the last couple of days that this premier from Canada who needs heart surgery is going to come to the U.S. to get that surgery instead of staying home in Canada? Many people say that health care reform would turn us into Canada." After Kaplan explained that the pending health care reform legislation is not the same as the Canadian system, Carlson replied, "Varying opinions on this very controversial topic."

In fact, the health care reform legislation being proposed is not similar to the Canadian single-payer system

Neither health care reform bill establishes a single-payer health care system. Neither the Senate's health care reform legislation nor the House's health care reform bill would establish a single-payer health care system.

Klein: "What we're actually going to get is not socialized medicine or single-payer health care." In a June 9, 2009, Washington Post article, "Health Reform for Beginners: The Difference Between Socialized Medicine, Single-Payer Health Care, and What We'll Be Getting," Ezra Klein explained that "the promiscuous use of the terms" single-payer and socialized health care "has created a rather confused population." According to Klein, "[W]hat we're actually going to get is not socialized medicine or single-payer health care. It's a hybrid system." Unlike the Canadian system, the American system will have "private doctors and private hospitals" and will "be a uniquely American system, and hard to describe with a single epithet."

Obama has rejected Canadian-style single-payer system and U.K.-style nationalized health care. During a March 26, 2009, online town hall discussion, Obama was asked: "Why can we not have a universal health care system, like many European countries, where people are treated based on needs rather than financial resources?" He replied, in part, "I actually want a universal health care system," adding that rather than adopting a "single-payer system" like Canada's, "what I think we should do is to build on the system that we have and fill some of these gaps." Indeed, Obama has embraced the creation of a federally funded "public plan" as one of many insurance options available in the health care market, not the sole option, as in "single payer" systems such as Canada. And as PolitiFact.com noted in a March 5, 2009, post, "Obama's plan leaves in place the private health care system, but seeks to expand it to the uninsured" and "the plan is very different from some European-style health systems where the government owns health clinics and employs doctors," as in the United Kingdom.

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