Pavlich: Vaccine rollout indicts Canada’s government health care system

Seniors await shots of the COVID-19 vaccine in an independent seniors residence in Toronto, Canada
Getty Images

For years the left has told Americans their health care system is too expensive, inefficient and will better serve everyone so long as it is fully run and controlled by the federal government. A single-payer, federal system has been repeatedly promoted by Democratic presidential candidates, and Vice President Harris advocated for the criminalization of private insurance.

To bolster their argument, Democrats and leftist activists have used Canadian Medicare as a system the U.S. should emulate.

“Decades before ‘Medicare for all’ would propel his presidential campaigns, [Sen. Bernie] Sanders’s expedition to Ottawa helped forge his determination to transform the American health care system. His views burst onto the national political scene during his 2016 presidential run, when he championed a single-payer program alongside many other liberal policy ideas. Now, as he seeks the Democratic presidential nomination for a second time, he has made ‘Medicare for all’ the most important issue of his campaign and set the agenda for the ideological discussion in the primary,” the New York Times reported in 2019 of the Vermont Independent.

But the coronavirus pandemic has shown us that while government health care systems in Canada and Europe have repeatedly failed, the private health care system in the United States has comparatively managed the pandemic. The ventilator shortage was overblown, hospitals weren’t overrun and therapeutics were quickly developed. Badly needed testing early on in the pandemic was developed through the private sector, with the backing of the White House and broader federal government.

Thanks to Operation Warp Speed, the federal government partnered with the private sector, rather than controlling it, to produce a number of vaccines in record time. While companies like Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson were working on development, shipping companies like UPS and FedEx were working with the Department of Defense on logistics for distribution.  Private pharmacies across the country, including CVS, Walgreens and Publix, jumped on board to facilitate vaccinations as soon as they were approved by the Food and Drug Administration for emergency use.

“To maximize access to COVID-19 vaccines for all Americans, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) today announced the U.S. government’s partnerships with large chain pharmacies and networks that represent independent pharmacies and regional chains. Through the partnership with pharmacy chains, this program covers approximately 60 percent of pharmacies throughout the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands,” the Department of Health and Human Services announced in November 2020. “Through the partnerships with network administrators, independent pharmacies and regional chains will also be part of the federal pharmacy program, further increasing access to vaccine across the country—particularly in traditionally underserved areas.”

Former President Trump said two months earlier than any American adult who wants a vaccine will get one by the end of April 2021. With May right around the corner, the U.S. has met that goal.

“We’ll have manufactured at least 100 million vaccine doses before the end of the year and likely much more than that. Hundreds of millions of doses will be available every month. And we expect to have enough vaccines for every American by April,” Trump said from the White House on Sept. 18, 2020.

In fact, the U.S. was so successful in this endeavor, vaccine supply will soon be an oversupply.

Meanwhile in Canada, the government has instructed citizens to get just one dose of vaccines that require two shots due to a lack of proper planning, execution and distribution. As often happens with government-run systems, there is a shortage.

“A national panel of vaccine experts in Canada recommended [in March] that provinces extend the interval between the two doses of a COVID-19 shot to four months to quickly inoculate more people amid a shortage of doses in Canada,” The Associated Press reports. “A number of provinces said they would do just that.”

Most vaccine companies have essentially been chased out of the country through overregulation and a burdensome government bureaucracy.

“Canadians have been overwhelmingly compliant with public-health directives, wearing masks, limiting social interactions, washing and sanitizing our hands ’til our fingertips prune. And what do we get? Per capita vaccination numbers lagging behind those of 50 other countries, including Brazil, Chile, Turkey, and much of Europe, according to Johns Hopkins University’s immunization tracker. The country currently has a level-four travel advisory,” The Atlantic reports. “Canada’s problems run deeper: Through a combination of bureaucracy and legislation, the country has slowly lost its drug manufacturers that were doing original R&D, its capacity to respond to potential pandemics early, and its federal clout in organizing national strategies for pandemic response and emergency vaccine rollout.”

Now parts of the country, also like many others with government-run health care systems in Europe, are headed back into strict lockdowns.

Health insurance, even when universally provided by the government, isn’t health care. Americans should remember this next time Democrats advocate for the abolishment of the U.S. private health care and health insurance system. The U.S. is beating the virus through the private sector, while Canada and European countries desperately try to get in on the deal.

Pavlich is the editor for and a Fox News contributor.

Tags Canadian health care system canadian medicare Donald Trump Medicare for all operation warp speed single-payer healthcare

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