6/30/11

Health care funding plans will mean serious cutbacks

 The Auditor General finds the Ontario government's funding proposals for health care over the next two years to be 'optimistic'.  


Translation:  if they fund at the proposed level, we may well see serious cuts to public health care services.  


This is all the more troubling as the Progressive Conservatives (who are currently leading in the polls by a substantial margin) are calling for even lower health care funding increases.


Hospital funding increases are supposed to be cut almost in half under the government's plan compared with the government's first two terms. The Auditor notes:  "The expense estimates assume that the hospital sector will achieve savings totalling $1 billion between 2011/12 and 2013/14."


The Auditor concludes:  "if hospitals do not find $1 billion in savings and do not succeed in freezing compensation, they will likely run deficits or may have little alternative but to cut services."   


Hospitals are currently not allowed to run deficits, narrowing the range of options further.  


Finally, the Auditor does not seem to have a lot of faith in the plan to achieve savings. The Auditor notes that the Ministry is "still working" on its cost saving strategies and "was unable to provide detailed plans or quantify the savings that it hoped would result". 


The Auditor's reference to hospital employee compensation is a little curious. More on that in the next post.

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