Coronavirus reveals difference between U.S., Canadian health care, former insurance executive says

The stark differences in how the coronavirus pandemic has unfolded in the U.S. and in Canada show the flaws in for-profit health care, according to a former U.S. health insurance executive who now advocates for medicare.

“You learn a lot about a health-care system when a global crisis hits (and) different nations have different results. Canada’s single-payer system is saving lives,” Wendell Potter said in a series of tweets Thursday.

“The U.S. profit-driven corporate model is failing. I’ll regret slandering Canada’s system for the rest of my life.”

Potter, a former communications vice-president with U.S. insurer Cigna who now leads an organization called Medicare for All Now!, said insurance companies have spent big on attempts to discredit the Canadian system.

“It was a lie (and) the nations’ COVID responses prove it,” he wrote. “The truth: Canada’s doing much better than the U.S. when it comes to COVID-19 testing and treatment.

“On a per capita basis, more Canadians are being tested (and) fewer getting sick (and) dying. This may shock Americans who still believe the lies I told about the Canadian health care system.”

Cigna did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday afternoon. Nor did the industry group America’s Health Insurance Plans, which Potter accused of supplying insurance executives with “cherry-picked data (and) anecdotes” to encourage the perception that Canadians face unreasonable wait times.

COVID-19 has claimed more than 8,500 lives in Canada as of Thursday. In the U.S., which has a population nearly nine times greater than Canada’s, there have been more than 122,000 fatalities, according to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

For every 100,000 people, Canada has had 23 deaths, while the U.S. has had about 37, according to the university researchers’ calculations.

Canada has also tested a greater proportion of its residents. On average, the U.S. has tested 56 people per 100,000 daily, while Canada has tested 65 per 100,000, Johns Hopkins data shows.

Sir Tainley

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