Bound by Gravity has pointed out that multiple bloggers have suggested Jack Layton's "'defender of health care' routine will be a flop".
Calgary Grit says "Let's face it, when health care is the issue, Canadians vote Liberal". Dissonance and Disrespect writes that, given current wait times, "Defending the public health care monopoly at election time is going to look less like a passionate defence of Canadian sovereignty and values, and more like indifference towards people's suffering".
I agree that a ban on private health care may not be what the doctor ordered. But that doesn't mean that Paul Martin isn't vulnerable on the health care issue.
Martin's weak demands for adequate performance by provincial health care systems have been inadequate, and threaten the sustainability of universal public health insurance. If Jack Layton would only focus on the system's performance, rather than how it is achieved, he might be able to get somewhere.
Of course, if Layton were to get any traction on this issue, we'd suddenly see PM PM spring to action and "steal" Layton's advantage. It seems to be inevitable that Paul Martin will only act on an issue when political pressure forces his hand. At least Layton could be happy that he has forced some good policy, and he could hope that the voters might catch on to the Prime Minister's style.