So this was a rather beautiful exchange in a Senate hearing on single-payer healthcare Tuesday. Sen. Richard Burr, who we are informed did not play either Perry Mason or Robert T. Ironside, was ready to come down like a million-pound shithammer on Canadian doctor Danielle Martin from Toronto, Canadaland, about that country’s complete failure to provide healthcare that even keeps people in Canastan alive and doesn’t kill them while they wait for treatment in an alley. Sadly for Burr, Dr. Martin didn’t even accept the premise of his questions, and set him straight — or maybe not, since he just plain ignored everything she said. It’s a pretty impressive Truthdown of the Senator nonetheless.
Martin appeared before the hearing at the invitation of Sen. Bernie Sanders, who asked seven experts to testify on how healthcare works in Canada and other countries with single-payer. About an hour into the hearing, Burr started in with the myths, and Martin fired back with a lot of factual stuff that, if humans actually could be persuaded by facts, should put a lot of those myths to rest.
We know you a lot of you resist videos on Yr Wonket, because come on, there’s all too often a Santorum in them. But give this one a look; you will be impressed. Bit of Wonksplaining: when Burr asks about “Premier Williams,” he’s talking about Danny Williams, the premier of Newfoundland, which is like an American viscount or something, who decided to get heart valve surgery in Florida, near his vacation home, rather than in Canada. The story has been used as “proof” that Canadian medical care kills people; the LA Times notes that Williams’s decision “is widely viewed in Canada as a rich man’s failure to investigate the care available to him closer to home.”
Also, extra points to CBC Radio’s As it Happens for their intro to the clip:
Republican Senator Richard Burr did not ask things like, “What makes your system work so well?” or “How can we Americans be more like you?” Here is how it went instead, for the record.
Best single moment comes right at the end, when Burr pulls out what he clearly thinks will be his Devastating Gotcha for all the news broadcasts:
BURR: On average, how many Canadian patients on a waiting list die each year? Do you know?
MARTIN: I don’t, sir, but I know that there are 45,000 in America who die waiting because they don’t have insurance at all.
Yeah, but those are totally worth it, because they’re takers, after all. Not that Martin’s testimony made any difference to the completely oblivious, odious senator from North Carolina, who has won his very own Legislative Shitmuffin of the Year nomination for responding, after all the facts, that nobody in America has to go without treatment. You see, Burr explained, “the American system has access for everybody. It’s called the emergency room.”
Oh, sure. For now.
Best healthcare system in the world, kids.
Follow Doktor Zoom on Twitter. He likes to indulge in a fantasy that the Ghost of Rod Serling will visit ironic justice upon people like Sen. Burr, and bring back the footage.