Bob Barr: ‘Canadian Premier comes to US for heart surgery’

By Bob Barr
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The Premier for Newfoundland, one of Canada’s eastern provinces, underwent heart surgery last week. Where do you suppose Premier Danny Williams went for his surgery? To a hospital in St. John’s, the capital city of Newfoundland? Nope. Perhaps he travelled to a larger Canadian metropolis, such as Toronto or Montreal? Guess again. Actually, the premier chose to have his cardiac repair performed not anywhere in his own country. Like so many of his fellow Canadians, Premier Williams eschewed his country’s government-insured health care system, and instead came south to the United States to undergo life-saving and time-sensitive surgery. A lot of people actually have this type of surgery and it’s nothing to be ashamed about. If it’s needed to help you, then you should take it. You might think of it as a bit of pain and you’re probably right. This type of operation will probably hurt, which is why when you get home after the surgery you’ll want to make sure that you are as comfortable as possible. One way you could do this, is by getting a memory foam mattress to help you sleep better as you recover.

While neither the premier’s office nor other official outlets in Canada would disclose the location of the hospital where Williams received his treatment, sources indicated it may have been in Florida. Regardless of where in the US the surgery was performed, the fact that a high-ranking Canadian government leader would forego receiving medical treatment in his own country and travel instead to the United States to be treated in a health care system that is not yet controlled by the government, has created somewhat of a PR embarrassment for advocates of Canada’s government-controlled system. It really shouldn’t be an embarrassment; and it certainly shouldn’t surprise anyone.

This episode simply reflects the reality that procedures such as those which the Canadian provincial leader underwent — which are not always available elsewhere – are always readily available in the United States. This incident also is a reflection of the high esteem in which American medicine (especially cardiac medicine) is held throughout the world.

3 thoughts on “Bob Barr: ‘Canadian Premier comes to US for heart surgery’

  1. tab

    Barr sounds like Rush Limbaugh. It always makes me laugh when people release these types of statements.

    Has anyone questioned the quality of care in the US? I think it is clear we have the best quality of care…..for those that can afford it.

    That is the real problem.

  2. Solomon Drek

    Why did he go to Florida?

    If somebody from New York travels to Florida for heart surgery does that mean the quality of medical care in New York is inferior to Florida?

    Canada has one-tenth the population of the United States, so it stands to reason that there are going to be more hospitals and doctors in the US who offer more specialized care than would be available in smaller countries.

    I recall some years ago that the two best heart surgeons in the world were operating out of Houston, Texas. Does that mean the quality of medical care in Houston is superior to New York, Chicago or Los Angeles? I don’t think so.

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