U.S. President Donald Trump asserted at a campaign rally in Richmond, Ky., Saturday that Canadians travel to the U.S. to see doctors because “socialist health care” doesn’t work.
“(Socialist health care) doesn’t work anywhere in the world,” Trump said at the rally. “It’s good if you don’t mind waiting like five weeks to see a doctor.
“Frankly, they come from Canada because they want to use our doctors.”
According to the Fraser Institute, a Canadian public policy think tank, 1.4 per cent of Canadian patients received care outside of Canada in 2016. This data was derived from the institute’s own survey as well as a tally of the number of procedures performed in Canada by the non-profit Canadian Institute for Health Information.
The study explains that one reason Canadian patients travel abroad for medical treatment may relate to the long wait times in Canada’s health-care system.
Although the result was a small percentage of Canadians, the think tank said it is a nearly 40 per cent increase over the previous year.
Trump’s comments on Saturday were not the first time he has criticized what he calls “socialist” health care. During the presidential campaign in 2016, Trump’s campaign said such a health-care system was “slow” and “catastrophic.”
Trump has had mixed opinions about health care in the past. In September 2016, he praised universal health care during an interview with 60 Minutes and later praised countries that have universal health care, such as Australia, in May 2017.
Trump and the Republicans attempted to repeal Obamacare, which assures all Americans have access to affordable health insurance, multiple times in 2017 but failed.
Trump’s comment comes days after USA Today published an op-ed he wrote criticizing Democrats’ health-care proposal Medicare For All, saying it would take away benefits for seniors.