Earlier this year, Conservatives for Patients Rights (CPR), an anti-health care reform group led by the disgraced former CEO of Columbia/HCA Healthcare Rick Scott, began running a commercial attacking the Canadian health care system. The TV ad runs through “tragic stories” of Canadian citizens who it portrays as being against government-run health plans such as Canada’s Medicare system. Watch it:
Now, CTV British Columbia is reporting that CPR misled several of the interviewees who appeared in their ads. One of them, Charlie Wadge, feels that the ad unfairly portrayed Canada’s system as “barbaric“:
A B.C. man featured in a series of American conservative health care ads says the videos portray the Canadian medicare system as “barbaric” — and that goes too far. […]
“They just made it sound way worse than it was,” he said. “They made it sound barbaric — like we don’t have a health care system at all.” […]
The patients were recruited by Rick Baker, a B.C.-based consultant for Timely Medical Services, which matches disillusioned Canadian patients with American hospitals, and Dr. Brian Day, who runs a private hospital at Cambie Surgery Centre in Vancouver. […]
[Wadge] feels terrible that his words are being used to slow health care reform in the United States. He said if given the choice again, he would decline to appear in any ad.
“I think everyone should have health care,” he said.
This isn’t the first time CPR has misled its interview subjects. Last month, the Daily Mail reported that CPR tricked British women into appearing in its ad series slamming the British single-payer health care system known as the National Health Service.
While CPR’s misleading ads portray the Canadian single-payer health care system as unpopular and unable to provide care for the Canadian public, the reality is completely different. A bi-national poll conducted last year found that 91 percent of Canadians say they have a better health care system than the United States (a plurality of Americans agree). Indeed, the Commonwealth Fund ranks Canada ahead of the United States in terms of “dimensions of access, patient safety, efficiency, and equity.” And as Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D-MT) says, “there’s more likelihood of a person in Canada being struck by lightning than there is a likelihood of a Canadian going to the United States for their health care.”