Are there really cuts to health care? By Elizabeth F. Marshall

Elizabeth Marshall
Elizabeth Marshall

Are there really cuts to health care or are the unions, public service and/or special interest groups misleading the people of Ontario?

For the past few months some members of the public service, many unions and special interest groups have been decrying purported cuts to the Ontario Health Care system.  These groups may not have reason to be protesting.  It seems the previous Liberal government(s) had been restraining, (another word for “cuts”) for nearly a decade and yet there seemed to be very little protesting during this time span.  It would seem the unions, some health care sector employees and special interest groups are making this partisan instead of looking at the facts.

Just this past month Minister of Health, Christine Elliott had announced increased funding for “small and medium-sized hospitals across the province … to help address deficits and other funding challenges.” (Courtesy of The Canadian Press · Posted: Oct 17, 2019).  And it would seem this isn’t the only area where the PC government has increased spending on health care.

But shouldn’t we look at the facts, instead?  Yes, the PC government is amending the way health care is going to be provided.  Yes, there are going to be employees removed – some refer to these as inefficiencies because they merely promote an even larger bureaucracy.  For this one merely has to look at the LHIN’s bureaucracy.  This includes expanding their mandate into areas where they do not have authority to trespass – i.e. funding labs, nurse clinics which can cause infections in open wounds, decreased information to the patient/caregivers and one merely has to read the Auditor General’s reports to see the waste under this regime.

As for funding and funding cuts – perhaps one needs to read through the Financial Accountability Officer’s report to see the reality – and perhaps put a stop to the unions, public service and special interest groups’ protests…after all perhaps they protest too much, wouldn’t one think?

From the Financial Accountability Officer, 2018 report “Ontario Health Sector, An Update Assessment of Ontario Health Spending”:

“Since 2012, the Province has restrained the growth of health sector spending primarily by: imposing a four-year freeze in base operating funding to hospitals, increasing hospital efficiency, and restraining wage growth in the health sector. Going forward, it is not clear to what extent the Province can continue to rely on temporary measures, such as wage restraint, to limit health sector spending growth to below the growth in its core cost drivers.”

So, are there really cuts to health care or are the unions, public service and/or special interest groups misleading the people of Ontario?