Trump says Canada's 'slow' health care system is 'catastrophic'
Jeff Lagerquist, CTVNews.ca Writer
Published Monday, October 10, 2016 10:39AM EDT
Last Updated Monday, October 10, 2016 10:05PM EDT
Donald Trump took a swipe at Canada’s health care system in a heated town hall debate with Hillary Clinton on Sunday, suggesting the democratic nominee favours a state-run framework where “the government basically rules everything.”
The single reference to Canada came in response to an audience question regarding health care expenses associated with the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare.
Clinton acknowledged rising prescription drug costs and insurance premiums in a response that underscored the policy’s success in providing broader access to health coverage, but also called for improved affordability.
Trump went on the offensive, calling Obamacare a “disaster,” saying “nobody's ever seen numbers like this for health care. It's only getting worse. In ‘17, it implodes by itself.” He went on to suggest Clinton’s reforms would create a system akin to Canada’s.
“She wants to go to a single-payer plan, which would be a disaster, somewhat similar to Canada. And if you haven't noticed the Canadians, when they need a big operation, when something happens, they come into the United States in many cases because their system is so slow. It's catastrophic in certain ways.”
Trump’s suggestion would have been more accurate had he been debating Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, according to a fact check by The Associated Press. Sanders had been vocal about the benefits of a government-run system throughout his bid for the Democratic nomination.
Trump’s reaction was not entirely baseless. Clinton has praised Canada’s universal coverage system in the past, saying single-payer systems were “as good or better” when it came to basic medical care, according to excerpts from paid speeches. However, she has also noted drawbacks such as longer wait times for procedures.
The brief mention of Canada drew sharp criticism on social media. Popular Toronto Coun. Norm Kelly suggested Trump should “keep our country’s name out of your mouth” on Twitter. Recording artist Jann Arden also weighed in, saying many of her friends south of the border would have been unable to find coverage without Obamacare.
Keep our country's name out of your mouth, @realDonaldTrump.— Norm Kelly (@norm) October 10, 2016
I have many friends in the USA who would be screwed without Obamacare - no one else will Insure them with existing conditions....— jann arden (@jannarden) October 10, 2016