Hospitals on PC chopping block, again? It seems like old times...

On Tuesday, as part of their health care funding announcement, the Ontario Progressive Conservatives promised 

  • 40,000 new and renovated long-term care beds
  • Increasing investments in home care, and giving families more control over services
There are exactly zero promises regarding hospitals. 

Given that the PC funding promise is more like a promise to cut services (see yesterday's note),  the emphasis on long term care and home care will likely mean an especially hard time for hospitals.  

That is completely consistent with the initial approach of the Mike Harris PC government in the 1990s.  The Harris PCs actually cut hospital funding (not just by letting inflation erode the value of their funding, but by actually reducing the number of dollars provided).   And they did this under a fog of rhetoric about better long term care and better home care.  Eventually, rising public anger forced them to reverse direction and increase hospital funding (quite significantly, in fact).    

The promise regarding home care is a little mysterious.  What do they mean by giving more control to families?  Could they possibly want families to directly contract for services?  

The 40,000 new or renovated long term care (LTC) beds is a little vague.  Is this a break with the Liberal policy to slow the growth of LTC  and perhaps pull some support from the  for-profit LTC industry?  More on this later today. 

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