Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Gone to Kentucky to badmouth Canada

Nadeem Esmail, the Fraser Institute's healthcare hack in residence is taking his dog and pony show on the road to the deep south. He knows his insurance industry paid for polemics against Canada's public health system will be alternately picked apart and hooted out of the room here in Canada, but the American tea partiers will eat them up with a spoon.

National health care reform will be the focus of a daylong conference in Lexington on Friday.

The third annual Conference for Healthcare Transparency and Patient Advocacy will be held at Lexington's Four Points Sheraton, 1938 Stanton Way, starting at 8:45 a.m.


Nadeem Esmail, an analyst with the Fraser Institute in Alberta, Canada, will talk about his work, which he says shows that Canada's system delivers care inefficiently.

He says, for example, that the average Canadian waits 34 weeks for joint-replacement surgery. Esmail says that's because Canada's government program lacks private competition, and that the free care it offers causes demand to outstrip supply.

"Canada's system doesn't guarantee access to care; it guarantees access to a waiting list," Esmail said. Other universal-access programs, such as those in France, Germany and Switzerland do a better job, he said.

Dr. Garrett Adams of Louisville, representing Physicians for a National Healthcare Program, said he'll paint a more positive picture of Canada's system.

So fortunately someone will be there to counter the spin and Esmail won't have his preferred unchallenged venue to spread the half truths and outright lies that are the Fraser Institute's bread and butter.

The Fraser Institute has all but given up selling Canadians on their long campaign to kill public healthcare. Now their primary role on behalf of their various big money backers is to represent the right wing anti-public good message on any public endeavor to Americans unfamiliar with their noxious history and unambiguous bias.

Esmail won't be telling his Kentucky audience how limited the credibility of Der Institute is in Canada or that the overwhelming majority of Canadians - even in Alberta the most right wing province in Canada - staunchly support the Canadian public system and fiercely resist any attempts to move it towards the American model. He certainly won't be promoting the fact that it costs less per capita and as a percentage of GDP than the American model, and don't expect even a paragraph on superior results like lower infant mortality, longer lifespans, a healthier public overall and a more competitive economy.

Nope, he'll just focus on wait times - without ever once mentioning that they are overblown, dropping rapidly in recent years and to the extent they exist, the wholly predictable result of cutbacks promoted by the Fraser Institute themselves.

The Fraser Institute is an industry funded PR firm disguised as an independent think tank and Esmail is just there to earn his paycheck badmouthing Canadian healthcare for his clients.

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