For some things, there's lots of bucks. Ontario MOHLTC 'provincial programs' gets 37% increase

The provincial government Estimates (a document where the government lays out in some detail how it intends to spend the money in the provincial Budget) indicates that health care 'provincial programs' are going up $943,146,400 this year compared to last year.  (Line item 1412.)  Just shy of a billion dollars.

Now that's a whopper of an increase: a 37.5% increase in fact!

While the provincial government is giving its own 'provincial programs' a massive increase, the LHINs (the main funder of hospitals, home care, and long term care) will be getting a miserly 1.5% increase.

In fact the total increase for the LHINs, $322 million, is about a third of the $943 million increase for the (much smaller) 'provincial programs' budget.

A cynic might suspect the government is giving itself a free hand to make funding announcements, while the LHINs are stuck with the job of telling hospitals, homes, and home care providers that 'There's no money, there's no money!".

So what is included in the 'provincial programs' envelop? It  includes a rag tag variety of items -- e.g. Cancer Care Ontario, Operation of 'Related Facilities', HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C Programs, and Chronic Disease Management Programs. But it appears that these items are getting puny increases, much like the LHINs.

The only real winner is the very vaguely named item, "Community and Priority Services".  Sounds like that gives the government a lot of leeway to fund what they want, when they want.  And make a few funding announcements along the way.  (Hey, wait a minute, isn't an election coming up about a year from now?)

But predictable funding for health care providers that lets them plan ahead?  That is taking the back seat, it seems.

By the way -- the $943 million increase for 'provincial' programs' is a lot more cash than the government will ever save this year with its 'compensation freeze' for the broader public sector. 


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