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Obama Health Plan May Entice Canadian Doctors to Move South: Chart of Day

Canadian doctors may be enticed to return to the U.S. after President Barack Obama’s health-care legislation passed earlier this year, expanding care.

The CHART OF THE DAY shows how more physicians have moved to Canada from the U.S. than left over the past six years, capped by the biggest net change in 16 years in 2009, according to data from the Canadian Institute for Health Information.

Now, with stretched resources at home and Obama’s health- care law giving 32 million people access to Medicare -- just shy of Canada’s population of 34 million -- the risk is that doctors again decide to leave, Jeff Turnbull, the president of the Canadian Medial Association and chief of staff of The Ottawa Hospital, said in an interview.

“I’m afraid that as you start to provide increasing services to those Americans that need care, once again America is going to start to pull Canadian doctors back,” Turnbull said. “The balance is going to shift. You’ll see doctors move.”

Obama’s $940 billion health-care legislation, which was signed in March, represents the most sweeping changes to the nation’s medical system since the Medicare program for the elderly was created in 1965.

Canada hasn’t made major changes since 1968 with the introduction of the national health insurance system. The Ottawa Hospital has had to cancel about 500 surgeries so far this year because of a lack of resources, Turnbull said.

To contact the reporters on this story: Alexandre Deslongchamps in Ottawa at adeslongcham@bloomberg.net; Ilan Kolet in Ottawa at ikolet@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Wellisz at cwellisz@bloomberg.net

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