Mar 14, 2014

By Jane Brown

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A Toronto hospital vice-president is being hailed as Canada’s newest hero after “giving as good as she got” while addressing a U.S. Senate subcommittee earlier this week.

38 year old Doctor Danielle Martin issued a vigorous defence of Canada’s publicly funded health system under tough questioning from Republican Senator Richard Burr, a vocal opponent of Obamacare.  “When you try to address wait times, you should do it in a way that benefits everyone, not just people who can afford to pay,” Martin explained to Burr.  The Senator then asked her, “on average, how many Canadian patients on a waiting list, die each year, do you know?”  That’s when Martin shot back, “I don’t sir, but there are 45,000 in America who die waiting because they don’t have insurance at all.”

Independent Senator Bernie Sanders then asked Dr. Martin if Canada’s prime minister is a socialist.  “No sir, our prime minister’s quite conservative.” He then replied, “obviously as a conservative, he wants to implement the American healthcare system that the Canadians are very aware of.  I gather that was probably the first thing he did when he came to power, is that right?”  Dr. Martin then smiled and paused before answering, “Not exactly.”  Martin then explained that “support for single payer Medicare in Canada goes across all political stripes.”

The vice-president of Women’s College Hospital and former chair of Canadian Doctors for Medicare was one of a few international experts to testify about their respective health systems before the subcommittee on primary health and aging.

Martin is receiving widespread praise for her performance.  The Huffington Post called her “Canada’s newest hero.”  Senator Sanders posted her testimony on YouTube, saying Martin’s address was enlightening, adding that the U.S. has much to learn from Canada’s health system. Sanders is a proponent of public healthcare and invited Martin to appear at the subcommittee, which he chairs.

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