Let's hope Hillary Clinton and Ted Kennedy were sitting down when they heard the news of the latest bombshell Supreme Court ruling. From the Supreme Court of Canada, that is. That high court issued an opinion last Thursday saying, in effect, that Canada's vaunted public health-care system produces intolerable inequality.
Call it the hip that changed health-care history. When George Zeliotis of Quebec was told in 1997 that he would have to wait a year for a replacement for his painful, arthritic hip, he did what every Canadian who's been put on a waiting list does: He got mad. He got even madder when he learned it was against the law to pay for a replacement privately. But instead of heading south to a hospital in Boston or Cleveland, as many Canadians already do, he teamed up to file a lawsuit with Jacques Chaoulli, a Montreal doctor. The duo lost in two provincial courts before their win last week.
The court's decision strikes down a Quebec law banning private medical insurance and is bound to upend similar laws in other provinces. Canada is the only nation other than Cuba and North Korea that bans private health insurance, according to Sally Pipes, head of the Pacific Research Institute in San Francisco and author of a recent book on Canada's health-care system.
Read it all and weep, Hilary.