7/25/11

Liberals open to more private health care delivery

The Ontario Medical Association called last week for more surgeries and other work to be performed outside of public hospitals.  


This proposal from the OMA is old news. However, in this case they specifically pleaded that that their proposal not get caught up in "over politicized language" about the privatization of health care.  


Yes, I am sure they don't want this to become part of the debate about privatization.  But I am defeated when I try to think of this in other terms.  If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, it is probably ... (a duck).


The Progressive Conservatives (PCs) supported such a plan in the last election, citing some similar claims about cost savings. It didn't seem to do them any good.  But no doubt they will be down for more -- their program is privatization friendly.   


More surprising is the welcome offered to the OMA proposal by the current Liberal Health Minister, Deb Matthews.  Here's the account from the Sun chain: 

 "We're not opposed," she said. "We support the need to deliver services in the community. That's why we have a lot more dialysis, for example, out of hospitals. It's really all about getting the right balance."


The Liberals need to distinguish themselves from the PCs if they are planning to campaign as the saviors of medicare from Conservative privatizers.  On this one, they are not doing it.   


They also have to figure out a way to say to stop saying yes to funding requests from the docs.   


These guy have driven up their funding by a huge amount since the Liberals got in power: e.g.  from $6.7 billion for OHIP payments in the 2003-4 Budget Estimates to $12.5 billion in the 2011-12 Budget Estimates.  That's a couple of drops under a $ 6 billion increase -- an 87% increase.  That one line item  increase alone accounts for a significant portion of the total increase in health care funding.


It's also worth noting that these private facilities ("IHFs") that OMA so much wants to expand have seen an 82% increase over the same period.  


Those are pretty big increases  -- and we can't afford them. 





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