How Does Canada's Single-Payer Health Care Work?

07/23/09 Robert Lorei
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Good afternoon, welcome to WMNF's Radioactivity. I’m Rob Lorei.

In his press conference last night President Obama said that the only way all Americans could be covered by health insurance is to enact a single-payer plan here in the U.S.

Single-payer is, essentially, covering every person in the country with a government sponsored health insurance. While the president is not advocating such a plan, several different single-payer plans have been proposed in Congress. The oldest of which, the John Conyers bill HR 676, has about 72 co-sponsors. Earlier this year Senator Bernie Sanders introduced a single-payer bill in the Senate, but currently it has no co-sponsors.

Canada already has its own version of single-payer health care and that’s our topic today. We’re joined by Susan Taylor Martin, who is the St. Petersburg Times' Senior Correspondent. Earlier this week the Times carried a two-part series by her on the Canadian system.

Also here are there Canadian citizens. Gene Costain is a journalism professor at the University of Tampa and a news volunteer here at WMNF. JoAnne Racine is a nurse who practices in St. Petersburg, but she’s originally from Montreal. And in Trenton, Ontario is Brian Lake, who is a factory worker.

You can read Gene Costain's op-ed on the subject, and Susan Taylor Martin's first article in the Times series.

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