I don't write much about Canada's health care system, probably because I don't think of it much. Basically, all I've ever had to do to get health insurance was fill out a small form and get my picture taken. I really, really like that.
So it kind of bugs me that the only impression a reader of the New York Times would ever get of Canada's medicare system is one of rot and decay. Seriously. In over a decade of irregularly reading the Times, I've never seen a single article that said a good thing about our system. Meanwhile, the American system (which, as even enlightened Americans will admit, is objectively worse) is never subjected to the same kind of criticism.
That's why I wasn't surprised by the latest Times article which basically talks about how great this new private health care in Canada is. (Thanks for the tip, Max!) The headline itself is enough to give you an idea of the author's bias: "As Canada's Slow-Motion Public Health System Falters, Private Medical Care Is Surging". Way to be objective there.
I'd love for the Times to talk about the huge and growing numbers of entirely uninsured people in the US, or the much, much larger number of under-insured people. Something close to 50 million people have no insurance whatsoever, despite higher average spending in the US. If we add up the uninsured and underinsured, I'd be willing to bet that 1/3 to 1/2 of Americans lack proper access to proper medicine.
Let me rephrase that. Despite the fact that America spends more on health care than we do, there are more uninsured Americans then there are Canadians.
The argument does cut both ways, by the way. As Ezra notes, Canada spends more on health care than other countries, and gets poorer service for its money than France or Japan. And yes, Japan and France do allow restricted private health care. Which is why I'm not convinced that private health care will ruin Canadian medicine. The big difference is that France and Japan don't live right next door to the world's most inefficient and predatory insurance industry, always on the prowl for new customers.