Canadian comedian Mary Walsh (playing the character of Marg Delahunty) attended a Sarah Palin book signing in the United States last week and asked the “thrilla from Wasilla, the Alaskan Aphrodite” if she had “any words of encouragement for the Canadian conservatives who have worked so hard to try to diminish that kind of socialized medicine we have up there.”
“Keep the faith and that common-sense conservatism,” Palin said to Walsh, who was being pushed out of the store by bodyguards. “It needs to be plugged into Canadian policies too. Keep the faith!” Palin cried out.
After the event, Walsh waited in the loading dock of the Borders bookstore “close to where Palin’s bus was parked.” Palin came over and energetically encouraged Walsh to “keep the faith” again and suggested that Canada needs to reform its health care system to “let the private sector take over”:
WALSH: Ms. Palin, I tried to ask you a question inside, but I didn’t hear your answer! The Canadians! Ms. Palin!
PALIN: Well, my answer was too keep the faith. My answer was to keep the faith. Cause that common sense conservatism can be plugged-in there in Canada too. In fact Canada needs to reform its health care system and let the private sector take over some of what the government has absorbed. So thank you, keep the faith.
In Canada, “the private sector” is already “a crucial part” of the Canadian health care system. The federal government finances the basic health care plan, (through a “Medicaid-like arrangement in which Canada’s 10 provinces and 2 territories jointly fund” the system), but care is independently organized and managed by each province or territory. Canadians spend billions on private supplemental coverage and physicians work in private practices. Everyone has access to care, and patients “can see any doctor they want anywhere in the country with no copays or deductibles.”
While the system has longer waiting periods for certain elective surgeries, research suggests that Canadians do enjoy better access to care and “superior” health outcomes compared to Americans. According to a Commonwealth Fund of deaths that could have been prevented “with access to quality medical care in the leading 19 industrialized countries,” the United States ranked last and Canada came in sixth.