Dr. Danielle Martin is the most articulate spokesperson for Obamacare to date. She likely does not even realize that she is. She did not allow misinformed Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) to spew lies without pushback. Moreover, she was knowledgeable in both Canadian and American health care. The problem is that she is a Canadian. Where are our American doctors speaking out like Dr. Danielle Martin in mass?
Dr. Danielle Martin Takes Down Senator Richard Burr
Senator Richard Burr made a critical mistake. He believed the lies that the Right Wing spewed about the Canadian healthcare system. Dr. Danielle Martin civilly presented the facts which ultimately showed his ineptitude.
Senator Richard Burr: Why are doctors exiting the public system in Canada?
Dr. Danielle Martin: Thank you for your question, Senator. If I didn’t express myself in a way to make myself understood, I apologize. There are no doctors exiting the public system in Canada, and in fact we see a net influx of physicians from the United States into the Canadian system over the last number of years.
What I did say was that the solution to the wait time challenge that we have in Canada -- we do have a difficult time with waits for elective medical procedures -- does not lie in moving away from our single-payer system toward a multipayer system. And that’s borne out by the experience of Australia. So Australia used to have a single-tier system and did in the 1990s move toward a multiple-payer system where private insurance was permitted. And a very well-known study by Duckett, et al., tracked what took place in terms of wait times in Australia as the multipayer system was put in place.
And what they found was in those areas of Australia where private insurance was being taken up and utilized, waits in the public system became longer.
Dr. Danielle Martin corrected the misinformation by the senator and segued into why a single payer system was more effective. It was borne out not just on paper but in practice. It was corroborated by a detailed study.
Senator Richard Burr moved on to ask why a particular elected Canadian official came to the US for a particular heart procedure. He wanted to imply that the American system was somehow superior. Maybe he should have done some research. Most countries in the industrialized world have better healthcare outcomes than the US.
Dr. Danielle Martin had the perfect answer for the senator.
It’s actually interesting, because in fact the people who are the pioneers of that particular surgery, which Premier Williams had, and have the best health outcomes in the world for that surgery, are in Toronto, at the Peter Munk Cardiac Center, just down the street from where I work.
So what I say is that sometimes people have a perception, and I believe that actually this is fueled in part by media discourse, that going to where you pay more for something, that that necessarily makes it better, but it’s not actually borne out by the evidence on outcomes from that cardiac surgery or any other.
The best exchange, however, was when Senator Richard Burr asked Dr. Danielle Martin if she knew how many Canadians die each year waiting for care. Her answer made the senator look silly, small, inconsequential, and naïve.
I don’t, sir, but I know that there are 45,000 in America who die waiting because they don’t have insurance at all.
If Americans were informed with the likes of this good doctor, the country would be better off. If the country ignored politicians that are but caricatures of intellect, the country would be much better off. If more Americans stood up like these nuns against medical intolerance by the religious, the country would be better off. If politics were removed from what is best for health care, the country would be much better off.
See the full hearing here.
Also published on Medium.