“The U.S. profit-driven corporate model is failing. I’ll regret slandering Canada’s system for the rest of my life.”
Coronavirus reveals difference between U.S., Canadian health care, former insurance executive says.
“You learn a lot about a health-care system when a global crisis hits (and) different nations have different results. Canada’s single-payer system is saving lives,” Wendell Potter said in a series of tweets Thursday.
Potter, a former communications vice-president with U.S. insurer Cigna who now leads an organization called Medicare for All Now!, said insurance companies have spent big on attempts to discredit the Canadian system.
“It was a lie (and) the nations’ COVID responses prove it,” he wrote. “The truth: Canada’s doing much better than the U.S. when it comes to COVID-19 testing and treatment.
Cigna did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday afternoon. Nor did the industry group America’s Health Insurance Plans, which Potter accused of supplying insurance executives with “cherry-picked data (and) anecdotes” to encourage the perception that Canadians face unreasonable wait times.
In an interview, Potter said he wanted to draw attention to the reality north of the border, and “what can happen when you have a system that is better organized” than in the United States.
Research shows, that the U.S. spends far more on health care yet has the lowest life expectancy and highest infant mortality rates out of 11 high-income countries including Canada.
Potter worked as a journalist prior to switching to communications and started at Cigna in 1993.
What he called a crisis of conscience over his work — and “vilifying the Canadian system” — prompted Potter to leave the industry more than a decade ago.
“I was very ashamed of what I was doing. I became very ashamed,” he said.