Universal coverage changes the debate

Despite the problems there is no great rush by Canadians to abandon province-run health care. Instead central debates are on the margins, over whether private health care should be allowed.

Canada flagOnce you start following countries with universal health care, it's clear that problems remain but the terms of debate shifts.

Take Canada, for instance. (Please?)

Questions of how much money is spent on drugs cease being academic. Government can freely decide what people can and can't take.

Canada's health care system is run through its provinces, so there can be big differences in care depending on where you live.

Government control of health care also means government control over what procedures you can have. Want in-vitro fertilization or a sex change? It's up to voters.

Despite the problems there is no great rush by Canadians to abandon province-run health care. Instead central debates are on the margins, over whether private health care should be allowed.

Some conservative groups in the U.S. want to use Canada's controversy as an argument against extending universal health care in this country.

Yet when voters in the U.S., Canada and the UK (a pioneer in universal care with its National Health Service) were asked by Gallup to rate their systems' affordability, guess which one came out on top?

It's the one whose flag adorns this post.