Jim Waters

Jim Waters/Columnist

A bright light of Gov. Steve Beshear’s administration is its success in leading efforts to exponentially increase exports from Kentucky manufacturers to eager Canadian buyers.

Exports to Canada have grown 87 percent since 2000; nearly $8 billion worth of goods headed north of the border last year.

Such vigorous trading is a healthy way to stimulate Kentucky’s economy.

Let’s keep this momentum going — as long the same freeways used to haul record amounts of transportation equipment and chemicals to the Great White North aren’t also utilized to bring Canada’s government-run health-care system back to the states.

If, by chance, you spot an 18-wheeler re-entering this country with an oversized load of single-payer health-care policy — in which the government becomes the sole insurance company and, thus, “single payer” of all claims — don’t be surprised if there’s a large “Trump International” logo plastered on its side.

For while there’s little love lost between Donald Trump — grandiloquent business-tycoon-turned-politician — with America’s neighbors to the South, he seems to have a particular affinity for the government-run health-insurance approach taken by America’s northern neighbor.

“As far as single-payer, it works in Canada, works incredibly well in Scotland,” The Donald said in a recent GOP presidential debate.

It all sounds so idyllic in its different-ness.

Trump’s opposing GOP candidates oppose a single-payer health-care system, although I suspect there are Kentucky leaders who dreamily envisage such a program solving all health-care challenges.

Yet while different may be refreshing when attempting to drain the swamp of political correctness engulfing America and carefully choreographed — mostly unimaginative — political campaigns, the rationing, long waits, poor-quality care, scarcity of critical medical technologies and unsustainable costs are neither new nor insignificant.

Sally Pipes, a native of Canada and author of “The Cure for Obamacare,” once referred to the charming fantasy about Canadian health-care superiority as “a foolish fetish.”

Pipes shakes us back into reality — unless we’re having too-much fun dawdling in Trump’s Make-Believe Land.

“To keep a lid on costs, Canadian officials ration care,” she wrote. 

Pipes also provides a much-more honest comparison of costs between the two nations than Rob Cullen spouts on Whatifpost.com.

Cullen claims the U.S. government spends “almost $1,000 more per taxpayer” to cover health care for the poor, disabled, elderly and veterans than Canada does to cover every single Canadian.

Yet while Canadian patients pay only a nominal fee for treatment, Pipes reports that “the typical Canadian family pays about $11,300 in taxes every year to finance the public-insurance system.”

While truth may not be as interesting as the Trump political phenomenon, it still matters – especially when it involves serious issues like health care.

The truth is that the Canadian single-payer policy is inferior and not a good route for America to take — unless you’re interested in waiting six months for potential life-or-death procedures like neurosurgery or cardiovascular surgery, or 42 weeks for hip, knee or back surgery.

Or, you want a system in which patients must obtain additional private coverage — like many Canadians are forced to do — just to get access to adequate care, according to a report released in July by a panel chaired by former University of Toronto president and dean of medicine David Naylor.

Kentuckians now face similar scenarios with one in four people purchasing insurance through the commonwealth’s government-run exchange unable to afford doctors’ visits and important medical tests, according to a recent Families USA study.  

A suggested talking point for The Donald might be: “No Kentuckian trying to act responsibly by shelling out hard-earned dollars to purchase a government-exchange plan should be denied access to the care promised by the snake-oil salesmen who pawned those policies off on them. My message for those politicians and bureaucrats: You’re fired!”

Jim Waters is president of the Bluegrass Institute, Kentucky’s free-market think tank. Reach him at jwaters@freedomkentucky.com.

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