Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley defended the United State’s private healthcare system by pointing to Canada’s current healthcare crisis, which has prompted some provinces like British Columbia to turn towards private care for solutions. 

During a Sept. 11 Senate debate, Grassley blasted “unacceptable waiting times” experienced by many Canadians in need of healthcare. 

“In May, British Columbia announced that they are sending cancer patients  to Bellingham, WA, in the United States, for treatment,” said Grassley. 

“Canada is taking this action because its cancer patients face  unacceptable waiting times. Currently, only 82.9 percent of the British  cancer patients who require radiation start treatment within 28 days.  That means that 17 percent of cancer patients are waiting at least a  month or longer to start cancer treatment.”

Earlier this year, BC Health Minister Adrian Dix announced that the NDP government would cover the costs of specific cancer treatments at private clinics in the U.S. for Canadian patients, citing the province’s overburdened healthcare system. 

“This commitment to supporting radiation treatment will initially focus on a specific group of patients – breast cancer and prostate cancer patients – are the largest patient populations receiving radiation therapy,” said Dix at the time. 

According to Grassley, government-run healthcare is at the heart of the current issues faced by Canadians. 

“A government-run healthcare system is not the answer. British and Canadian healthcare systems are plagued by longer and  longer wait times and delayed care. These government-run healthcare systems are paying for patients to get care in the United States, not resorting to DIY healthcare,” said Grassley.

“This body needs to be reminded how  government-run healthcare systems are broken and do not work.” 

A poll from last year found that a majority of Canadians supported the idea of adding private clinics as an option into Canada’s healthcare mix. 

A total of 72% of respondents wanted to see Canada follow a European model which reimburses citizens for surgeries done while abroad.