That cheering you heard might have been Mayor Hector Macmillan all the way from his hospital bed in Germany.
“(Hillary Clinton) wants to go to a single payer plan which would be a disaster, somewhat similar to Canada,” Republican candidate Donald Trump charged in Sunday’s debate in St. Louis. “If you ever notice the Canadians when they need a big operation, when something happens, they come into the United States in many cases because their system is so slow it’s catastrophic in certain ways.”
It was like Trump was speaking directly to the mayor of Trent Hills — one loud-mouthed politician to another — all the way across the ocean in an out-of-country hospital that he was forced to go to in order to receive life-saving surgery.
Our pal Hector got up at 3 a.m. to watch the debate and on Thanksgiving Monday was enjoying seeing all the coverage of it in the German newspapers.
“It’s the first time I heard him say something that was close to truthful,” teased Macmillan, who is in recovery from NanoKnife IRE surgery for pancreatic cancer. “I watched the entire debate and noted Trump’s health-care comments.”
Macmillan is not a fan of either candidate. But he was a fan of Trump’s observation — at least when it comes to someone needing an out-of-country operation or experimental surgery or some out-of-the-box thinking.
Hector for months has answered his calls by saying: “I have been sentenced to die by the Ontario government.”
Since Ontario would not help him, Macmillan’s first choice was Kentucky. But OHIP would not cover the $300,000 cost.
Thanks to social media he was able to raise $50,000 to cover surgery in Germany. Hector tells me many people are already contacting the doctors where he is in Stralsund and at the hospital in Kentucky because they can’t get help locally.
Our system is hardly brag worthy. Trump shed some light on that.
But not everybody appreciated what Trump said — Toronto Councillor Norm Kelly tweeted: “Keep our country’s name out of your mouth, @realDonaldTrump.”
For Macmillan, it’s about opening a serious conversation.
“Our health care is pretty good except for a couple phenomenons that have occurred almost 20 years ago and still haunt us,” said Macmillan, who has been critical of Health Minister Dr. Eric Hoskins and Premier Kathleen Wynne.
His main concerns are “doctor shortages and increased wait times. Both due mostly to poor planning of doctor replacement by attrition instead of solid working strategies.”
Said Macmillan: “For all the bangs, cuts and bruises, even some cancers, I believe our health care does work reasonably well. Where it falls down is — and I’ll use Hoskins’s own numbers — if 95% of all out-of-country requests are granted, how much would it cost to go to 100%?”
In Ontario, some people have to wait months for a specialist appointment or an MRI. Even longer for surgery. Trump got that right.
“I think our health-care system is way too heavy and could be cut down to size to create savings and efficiencies. As well as funding for IRE and other stuff to be performed in Ontario,” Macmillan said.
Hec is living proof. Instead of being here in Toronto where we have incredible doctors and the same technology, know-how and equipment, he is in Germany.
And to Trump’s point, his choice had been the United States.