Ontario now funds our public hospitals at the lowest rate of any province in Canada despite the government’s claims that it pays more for health care than ever before
To the editors:
The decision of the Ford government to privatize some of Ontario’s health care services and hand them over to for-profit clinics and hospitals is a political choice, but doing so is not a necessity.
During the 2022 Spring election campaign, the Ford Cons were repeatedly asked if privatization was on their agenda. They categorically denied that it was…several times in fact. The Ford Cons lied, and they simply do not have the mandate to do what they are proposing.
Ontario now funds our public hospitals at the lowest rate of any province in Canada despite the government’s claims that it pays more for health care than ever before. Those claims, however, do not account for the increase in our population nor for the fact that there are more seniors requiring more care than ever before.
Creating a crisis to justify dismantling our precious public health care system only to hand it over to private, for-profit corporations is not the answer.
There are far better options available such as making use of the capacity that currently exists in our underutilized public hospital operating rooms and diagnostic testing facilities.
Private hospitals and clinics charge more for the same services that are available in the public system. Despite the claim that you won’t have to pay with your credit card, the fees charged to OHIP will be paid out of our taxes. Make no mistake about it, private healthcare services will cost us more, one way or the other.
A knee replacement in a public hospital in Ontario costs about $10,000, whereas the same surgery in a private clinic can cost up to $28,000. Great if you have that much money to spare, but what about those who don’t? And what about that second knee?
Cataract surgeries in private clinics also cost a whole lot more than they do in our public system. British Columbia has already brought cataract surgeons back into their public system due to their failed experiment with private delivery.
Private clinics will draw healthcare workers from the public system as there are only so many to go around. Bill 60, meant to allow for the further proliferation of private healthcare services, will not solve the shortage of workers and will only serve to lengthen wait times in the public system.
There is a clear alternative that would provide more timely health care services for Ontarians.
That would be to fund our public hospitals at the levels required to make full use of the capacity we already have. There is no common sense in funding private clinics and hospitals when this capacity is not fully utilized.