Local doc­tor teams up with Bernie San­ders

How Dr. Danielle Martin be­came a key player in the Medi­care for All bid

Annex Post - - NEWS - By Sa­man­tha Peksa

Dr. Danielle Martin has been a fa­mil­iar face to res­i­dents of North Toronto for years, hav­ing worked out of Sunnybrook Health Centre be­tween 2010 and 2017. Lately, she’s be­come known to many more, gain­ing in­ter­na­tional at­ten­tion when she pub­licly de­fended Canada’s health-care sys­tem and threw her sup­port behind Se­na­tor Bernie San­ders’ long-shot bid to im­ple­ment a sim­i­lar sys­tem in the United States last month.

San­ders in­vited Martin and other health-care pro­fes­sion­als to join him at a Wash­ing­ton rally to pitch leg­is­la­tion called Medi­care for All: a sin­gle­payer health-care sys­tem that would grant cov­er­age to all Amer­i­cans with a gov­ern­ment-is­sued ID card.

Martin cur­rently prac­tises as a fam­ily doc­tor at Women’s Col­lege Hos­pi­tal down­town and is an as­so­ci­ate pro­fes­sor at the Univer­sity of Toronto. She said it was her 2014 tes­ti­mony de­fend­ing the Cana­dian health care sys­tem be­fore a U.S. Se­nate sub­com­mit­tee that ini­tially caught San­ders’ at­ten­tion. A video of Martin’s pow­er­ful tes­ti­mony, in re­sponse to a Repub­li­can se­na­tor’s crit­i­cisms of the Cana­dian health-care sys­tem, went vi­ral and gar­nered more than a mil­lion views on­line.

At the rally last month, San­ders noted the cur­rent sys­tem in the U.S. leaves 28 mil­lion Amer­i­cans with­out health in­sur­ance cov­er­age.

“In the United States, we spend al­most twice as much per capita on health care as any other na­tion on earth, and yet we have 28 mil­lion peo­ple with­out health in­sur­ance and even more who are un­der­in­sured with high de­ductibles and co-pay­ments,” said San­ders.

Speak­ing with Post City, Martin echoed San­ders’ sen­ti­ments that health care should be considered a right and not a priv­i­lege.

“Free­dom from fi­nan­cial ruin when you are sick is such a ba­sic need, and it’s key to the eco­nomic and so­cial suc­cess of ev­ery country,” she said.

As a re­sult of her in­volve­ment with San­ders’ cam­paign, Martin is now on the front lines of what she’s called fear mon­ger­ing, mainly by the Repub­li­can party, con­cern­ing Cana­dian health care.

“I think it’s so important for Cana­di­ans to pay at­ten­tion to health-care de­bates happening now in the U.S. Given how of­ten Canada comes up, we need to share the facts. We need to be clear about what the ev­i­dence has to say about how our sys­tem actually per­forms,” she said.

Martin said she’s faced many mis­con­cep­tions about the our health-care sys­tem while down south, in­clud­ing claims that it is in­fe­rior in some way be­cause it is pub­licly funded or that Cana­di­ans are dy­ing on the streets be­cause of wait-lists. So when she held up her Cana­dian health-care card for all to see at the rally, she hoped to put those fears to rest.

“There is lots to be proud of and lots of work still to be done — our sys­tem is far from per­fect. But where myths are be­ing prop­a­gated, we need to set the record straight,” she said.

Dr. Martin at a Sept. 13 rally held by Bernie San­ders on Capi­tol Hill

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