Healthcare

Be it resolved, I would rather get sick in the United States than Canada...

June 7, 2010

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Do ballooning healthcare spending, evermore expensive prescription drugs and an increased use of private medicine foreshadow the wholesale reform of Canada’s universal, single-payer system? Or, are the divisive debates, social inequities, and sky-high expenditures associated with the U.S. experience with private medicine a validation of Canada’s universal Medicare system?

To encourage a far-ranging discussion of one of the great policy unknowns facing Canadians – the future of our healthcare system – the 5th semi-annual Munk Debate will debate the resolution: I would rather get sick in the United States than Canada.

The Results

Pre-Debate

23%

Pro

70%

Con

7%

Undecided

Post-Debate

23%

Pro

77%

Con

CON gains 7%. CON wins

The Debaters

Dr. William Frist

Dr. William Frist

Pro

"America has the best doctors, the best nurses, the best hospitals, the best medical technology, the best medical breakthrough medicines in the world."

Dr. William Frist

Dr. William Frist

Pro

"America has the best doctors, the best nurses, the best hospitals, the best medical technology, the best medical breakthrough medicines in the world."

Doctor and Senator William Frist is both a nationally recognized heart and lung transplant surgeon, and former U.S. Senate Majority Leader. Currently Professor of Business and Medicine at Vanderbilt University, he is uniquely qualified to discuss the challenges and solutions in health care policy. Senator Frist is consistently recognized among the most influential leaders in American healthcare and is one of only two individuals to rank in the top ten of each of the five inaugural Modern Healthcare magazine’s annual surveys of the most powerful people in healthcare in the United States.

Senator Frist majored in health policy at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs before graduating with honors from Harvard Medical School and completing surgical training at Massachusetts General Hospital and Stanford. As the founder and Director of the Vanderbilt Multi-Organ Transplant Center, he has performed over 150 heart and lung transplants and authored over 100 peer-reviewed medical articles and chapters and over 400 newspaper articles, and seven books on topics such as bioterrorism, transplantation, and leadership. He is board certified in both general and heart surgery.

Dr. Frist represented Tennessee in the U.S. Senate for 12 years where he served on both committees responsible for writing health legislation (Health and Finance).  He was elected Majority Leader of the Senate, having served fewer total years in Congress than any person chosen to lead that body in history.  

Frist currently serves on the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Commission to Build a Healthier America, which has directly linked better health to education.  This along with other education research led him to create the Tennessee State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE) in 2009, which is a statewide K-12 education initiative working to improve the level of education for Tennessee students.

Dr. Frist regularly leads annual medical mission trips to Africa. He is chair of Save the Children’s "Survive to Five Campaign" and Nashville-based Hope Through Healing Hands. His current board service includes the Kaiser Family Foundation, Millennium Challenge Corporation, Africare, the U.S. Holocaust Museum’s Committee on Conscience, the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and the Harvard Medical School Board of Fellows.

Senator Frist was the 2007-2008 Frederick H. Schultz Professor of International Economic Policy at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. He is a partner in the private equity firm of Cressey and Company. Dr. Frist is married, and has three sons, and lives in Nashville.

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Dr. David Gratzer

Dr. David Gratzer

Pro

"Yes, everyone in Canada is covered by a “single payer” – the government. But Canadians wait for practically any procedure or diagnostic test or specialist."

Dr. David Gratzer

Dr. David Gratzer

Pro

Yes, everyone in Canada is covered by a “single payer” – the government. But Canadians wait for practically any procedure or diagnostic test or specialist.

David Gratzer, is a physician and a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute. His research interests include consumer-driven health care, Medicare and Medicaid, drug reimportation, and FDA reform. David Gratzer's most recent book, with foreword by Milton Friedman, is The Cure: How Capitalism Can Save American Health Care.

Previously, Dr. Gratzer authored the book Code Blue: Reviving Canada's Health Care System, which was awarded the $25,000 Donner Prize for best Canadian public policy book in 2000 and which is now in its fifth printing. Dr. Gratzer is also the editor of Better Medicine, a collection of essays from leading health care thinkers in Canada, the United States, and Europe.

He is often quoted on health matters across North America. His writing has graced the pages of more than a dozen newspapers and magazines, including The Wall Street JournalThe Washington PostThe Los Angeles Times, and The Weekly Standard. For his essays, Dr. Gratzer won the 2000 Felix A. Morley Journalism Competition, sponsored by George Mason University’s Institute for the Humane Studies.

Dr. Gratzer has recently been cited in the New England Journal of MedicineHealth Affairs, as well as by major media outlets across the United States and Canada. He has been interviewed by dozens of the nation's top media hosts and he has delivered keynote addresses at several major industry conferences, including the World Health Congress and the Consumer Driven Health Care Conference. He debated Congressman Gil Gutknecht on drug reimportation at the American Enterprise Institute, testified before Congress on the Health Care Choice Act, and keynoted the Long Island Health Care Summit.

Dr. Gratzer is a peer reviewer for numerous publications and organizations: the Journal of Health Politics, Policy, and Law, the Canadian Medical Association Journal, the American Journal of Medicine, the Max Bell Foundation, the Pacific Research Institute, and the National Center for Policy Analysis.

Dr. Gratzer is married and is the proud father of two daughters.

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Dr. Howard Dean

Dr. Howard Dean

Con

"Every single industrialized country on the face of the earth has health insurance for all of its people. Why can’t we have what all those countries have?"

Dr. Howard Dean

Dr. Howard Dean

Con

Every single industrialized country on the face of the earth has health insurance for all of its people. Why can’t we have what all those countries have?

Governor Howard Dean, former DNC Chairman, presidential candidate, six term Governor and physician, currently works as an Independent consultant focusing on the areas of healthcare, early childhood development, alternative energy and the expansion of grassroots politics around the world.

Dean also serves as a CNBC contributor and is the founder of Democracy for America.

Dean began his career in public service in 1982 when he transitioned from a full-time practicing physician to an elected representative in Vermont.  Dean served as Governor for 12 years - the second longest serving in the state.

Respected on both sides of the political aisle, Dean was chairman of the National Governors' Association, the Democratic Governors' Association, and the New England Governors' Conference while he served as Governor of Vermont.  Dean left office in Vermont to run for President in 2003 where he implemented innovative fundraising strategies such as use of the Internet.

As chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Dean created and implemented the “50 State Strategy” and the development of 21st century campaign tools.  Dean is credited with helping Democrats make historic gains in 2006 and 2008. Under his leadership, significant resources were dedicated to revitalizing the Party by building and strengthening the organizational tools, technological capabilities and infrastructure required to win while laying the foundation for a long-term Democratic majority.

Before entering politics, Dean graduated from Yale University with a B.A. in political science in 1971, and received his medical degree from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City in 1978. Upon completing his residency at the Medical Center Hospital of Vermont, he went on to practice internal medicine in Shelburne, Vermont.

He is married to Dr. Judy Steinberg and they have two children, Anne and Paul.

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Dr. Robert Bell

Dr. Robert Bell

Con

"Why would we create the inefficiencies and inequities associated with private funding, rather than simply leverage the efficient public system?"

Dr. Robert Bell

Dr. Robert Bell

Con

Why would we create the inefficiencies and inequities associated with private funding, rather than simply leverage the efficient public system?

Dr. Robert Bell is President and CEO of University Health Network (UHN),

consisting of Princess Margaret Hospital, Toronto General and Toronto Western Hospitals.   An internationally recognized Orthopaedic surgeon, healthcare executive, clinician-scientist, and educator, Dr. Bell brings more than 30 years of experience in academic healthcare to the leadership of Canada’s largest research hospital.  

In July of 2000, Dr. Bell was appointed Vice President, Chief Operating Officer of Princess Margaret Hospital. Later that same year, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research awarded Dr. Bell and his colleagues more than six million dollars for five years for their Interdisciplinary Health Research Team Project in Musculoskeletal Neoplasia. From July 2003 to June 2005, Dr. Bell was Chair of the Clinical Council for Cancer Care Ontario (CCO) as well as a Regional Vice President (Toronto) for CCO. In April and May of 2005, Dr. Bell completed the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School. 

Dr. Bell earned a Doctor of Medicine from McGill University in 1975 and a Masters of Science from the University of Toronto in 1981. He completed a Fellowship in Orthopaedic Oncology at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard University in 1985. During his career as a clinician-scientist at the University of Toronto, he received more than five million dollars in peer-reviewed funding and published more than 170 peer-reviewed papers. Dr. Bell is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, the American College of Surgeons and the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh.

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