From the Billings Gazette:

BELGRADE – As Gov. Brian Schweitzer warmed up the crowd Friday for President Barack Obama, he paid a lengthy compliment to a health care system that leading Democrats, including the president, have declared “off the table” as a reform here: the Canadian single-payer system.

“Did you know that, just 300 miles north of here, did you know they offered universal health care 62 years ago?” he said, referring to Canada’s system of providing government-funded health insurance for all citizens.

Schweitzer, a Democrat, said he sometimes mentions the Canadian system when he hears people say that universal health coverage is a radical, new idea being rushed through the political process.

Quoting a Canadian journalist, Schweitzer said it was said that “there’s more likelihood of a person in Canada being struck by lightning than there is a likelihood of a Canadian going to the United States for their health care.”

Most of the crowd of 1,300 in the Gallatin Field Airport hangar roared its approval.

Each Canadian province provides health insurance for all of its citizens, funded by the provincial and state governments. Canadian citizens see private physicians, who bill the province for the care they provide.

Canada’s government insurance covers most basic health care for all citizens, on an equal basis. This type of government-funded insurance is often called a single-payer system, because one “payer” – the government – covers basic medical care.

The rest of the article is available here.

Montana is also home to Senator Max Baucus, the industry-friendly chair of the powerful Senate Finance Committee, who also spoke at this event.

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