An RN and lead organizer from Rights & Democracy will be traveling to Canada with US Bernie Sanders to learn how our neighbors to the north provide quality, universal health care while spending about half as much per capita as we do in the US.
Rights & Democracy’s Jessica Early, RN, who heads up RAD’s health care justice organizing, will accompany Sanders and others as observers on the trip. She leaves Friday for the weekend trip (see itinerary below).
On Sunday, Sanders will deliver a speech and discuss health care with Dr. Danielle Martin on what the US can learn from Canada’s health care system. That speech and discussion will be livestreamed on Sanders' Facebook page from 11-noon ET.
“As a nurse practitioner and as Rights & Democracy's Health Care Justice Organizer working to win meaningful health care reform that guarantees access to high-quality health care as a human right, I am so excited to be joining Senator Sanders on this trip to Toronto, Canada to learn about the Canadian health care system first-hand,” said Early.
With President Donald Trump and Congressional Republicans’ continuous assault on Americans' health care, now is the ideal time to engage in an exchange with Canadian health professionals working within a publicly funded, universal health care system that can serve as a future model for American health care, Early added.
“I am eager to draw on lessons learned by health care professionals and patients in Canada, to help us move forward with an alternative vision for health care that will serve my patients and patients across America,” said Early.
Despite victories over the past several months in defeating various Republican attacks on the Affordable Care Act, the health care fight continues until a system is built upon the principle of health care as a human right which puts patients ahead of private profits. This principle is the foundation of Canadian health care and is the basis for Senator Sanders' Medicare-for-All Act of 2017, Early noted.
The Medicare for All Act of 2017 establishes a national health insurance program called the Universal Medicare Program. Under this legislation, every resident of the United States will receive health insurance through an expanded Medicare program with improved and comprehensive benefits.
Under this bill, Americans will benefit from the freedom and security that comes with finally separating health insurance from employment. As is the case in every other major country, employers would be free to focus on running their businesses rather than spending an enormous amount of time, energy and money trying to provide health insurance to their employees.
Despite so many uninsured and under-insured, the United States spends far more per capita on health care than any other nation. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, in 2015, the U.S. spent almost $10,000 per person for health care, while the Canadians spent $4,644, the Germans $5,551, the French $4,600, and the British $4,192 even though all of these other countries guarantee health care to all of their people. Despite this huge expenditure, life expectancy in America is lower than most other industrialized countries and our infant mortality rates are much higher.
The Medicare for All Act of 2017 would ensure that Americans will no longer have to delay or avoid going to the doctor because they can't afford it; that a hospital stay will not bankrupt you or leave you deeply in debt; that you will be able to get the prescription drugs you need at a price you can afford; that middle class families will never have to spend 20 or 30 percent of their incomes on health care; and, that Americans will save billions of dollars a year in medical administrative costs.
Toronto Trip Details
Saturday: Sanders will tour Women's College Hospital, Mount Sinai Hospital and Toronto General Hospital. He will also hold a roundtable conversation with participants including a Canadian doctor, patient, policy maker, hospital administrator and pharmacist.
Sunday: Sanders speech and discussion with Dr. Danielle Martin on what the United States can learn from Canada's health care system.
Where: University of Toronto, Convocation Hall and the speech and discussion will be livestreamed on Sanders' Facebook page.
When: 11 AM – Noon ET
Photo: Jessica Early, RN, at a health care rally in Burlington earlier this year. Photo by Isaac Grimm.