...just wait until it's free.
That's the line from the incomparable P.J. O'Rourke and the death of actress Natasha Richardson apparently has some people asking if that "free" Canadian health care is worth what you pay for it.
A day before Natasha Richardson's scheduled funeral, some are wondering if a medical helicopter might have been able to save the actress, who passed away Wednesday at age 45 after falling on a Quebec ski slope.
The province of Quebec lacks a medical helicopter system, often used in the US and other parts of Canada, to airlift stricken patients to major trauma centers. Montreal's top head trauma doctor told The Associated Press that may have played a role in Richardson's death.
"It's impossible for me to comment specifically about her case, but what I could say is ... driving to Mont Tremblant from the city (Montreal) is a 2 1/2-hour trip, and the closest trauma center is in the city. Our system isn't set up for traumas and doesn't match what's available in other Canadian cities, let alone in the States," Tarek Razek, director of trauma services for the McGill University Health Centre, which represents six of Montreal's hospitals, told the AP.
Of course, if that's the sort of treatment a famous celebrity receives, then you can probably bet that it's better than your Average Joe would get.