Some interesting quotes from the Premier and points to ponder before we people talk about wanting to imitate the Canadian health care system.
"This was my heart, my choice and my health," Williams said late Monday from his condominium in Sarasota, Fla.
"I did not sign away my right to get the best possible health care for myself when I entered politics."
The above quote is in regards to the fact that the procedures available under the Canadian system would have require breaking his bones and a much longer recovery time than the minimally invasive procedure performed in the US for his condition.
"I would've been criticized if I had stayed in Canada and had been perceived as jumping a line or a wait list. ... I accept that. That's public life,"
"(But) this is not a unique phenomenon to me. This is something that happens with lots of families throughout this country, so I make no apologies for that."
Yes, many Canadians (not just their politicians) who can afford it get out of the Canadian health care "line" and choose to come to the US for procedures that can be performed more quickly or efficiently.
"We do whatever we can to provide the best possible health care that we can in Newfoundland and Labrador. The Canadian health care system has a great reputation, but this is a very specialized piece of surgery that had to be done and I went to somebody who's doing this three or four times a day, five, six days a week."
Specialized surgeries and procedures are exactly the kind of procedures that get ignored in socialized health care systems because resources are focused on general procedures that affect the masses rather than more specialized / less common ones. The Canadian procedures offered to the Premier was more blunt and less specific and therefore is a surgical option that could be applied to a larger set of procedures.
Update: I found this other Canadian article talking about the same issue but in defense of the Canadian health care system. It doesn't explain why the premier would choose to get this performed in the US if he could just have easily had it done in Canada, but it does offer some interesting prospective.