Skip to main content

Doctors get lion's share of Budget funding



Forget all the government Budget rhetoric about better home care.  The real winners are the docs.

The Ontario Budget Estimates are out and  the line item primarily covering the doctors ("Ontario Health Insurance") is going up 2.9 per cent to $13.3 billion.  The rest of the health care sector got an increase of  0.3 %, just over one-tenth as much.

In dollar terms, the Ontario Health Insurance line item got an increase of $374 million.  The total increase for all of health care (capital and operating expenses) is only $486 million, so this will eat up more than 3/4 of the total health care increase.

A relatively small group of people are getting most of the total increase in health care spending -- and  about 10% of the total $3.6 billion increase in all provincial spending.

Every $100 million split between 25,000 Ontario physicians means another $4,000 per physician, on average.

The pathetic LHINs (which are the main funders of hospitals, home and community care, and long term care) got a whopping $5.5 million.  That's a tiny increase of 0.02% (yes, that's correct, 2 one-hundreds of one percent). 

The extra cash for the doctors is part of a long pattern under the Liberals of big increases for doctors.  For a while, during bargaining with the doctors, it looked like the government might try to keep a lid on it.  In public, at least, the McGuinty / Duncan government had to take this stance as they were planning on sticking their lesser paid employees (who were entering bargaining right after the docs) with bona fide wage freezes. 

But even at that time there was skepticism about what was really going on --  some thought that they would quietly find ways to keep the cash flowing.   

Judging by the way they buried this, the Liberals would prefer that no one finds out about the increased funding.  So expect to hear more yattering about better home and community care - and very little about extra cash for the docs.

Note: this piece has been clarified to reflect total health care expenditures, increasing the relative portion of new health care money going to the "Ontario Health Insurance" line item.

Photo: The Ontario Legislature, 103 years out of date, courtesy Toronto Public Library

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Public sector employment in Ontario is far below the rest of Canada

The suggestion that Ontario has a deficit because its public sector is too large does not bear scrutiny. Consider the following. 

Public sector employment has fallen in the last three quarters in Ontario.  Since 2011, public sector employment has been pretty flat, with employment up less than 4 tenths of one percent in the first half of 2015 compared with the first half of 2011.


This contrasts with public sector employment outside of Ontario which has gone up pretty consistently and is now 4.7% higher than it was in the first half of 2011.



Private sector employment has also gone up consistently over that period. In Ontario, it has increased 4.3% since the first half of 2011, while in Canada as a whole it has increased 4.9%.







As a result, public sector employment in Ontario is now shrinking as a percentage of the private sector workforce.  In contrast, in the rest of Canada, it is increasing. Moreover, public sector employment is muchhigher in the rest of Canada than in Ontario.  Indeed as…

The long series of failures of private clinics in Ontario

For many years, OCHU/CUPE has been concerned the Ontario government would transfer public hospital surgeries, procedures and diagnostic tests to private clinics. CUPE began campaigning in earnest against this possibility in the spring of 2007 with a tour of the province by former British Health Secretary, Frank Dobson, who talked about the disastrous British experience with private surgical clinics.

The door opened years ago with the introduction of fee-for-service hospital funding (sometimes called Quality Based Funding). Then in the fall of 2013 the government announced regulatory changes to facilitate this privatization. The government announced Request for Proposals for the summer of 2014 to expand the role of "Independent Health Facilities" (IHFs). 

With mass campaigns to stop the private clinic expansion by the Ontario Health Coalition the process slowed.  

But it seems the provincial Liberal government continues to push the idea.  Following a recent second OCHU tour wi…

Hospital worker sick leave: too much or too little?

Ontario hospital workers are muchless absent due to illness or disability than hospital workers Canada-wide.  In 2014, Ontario hospital workers were absent 10.2 days due to illness or disability, 2.9 days less than the Canada wide average – i.e. 22% less.  In fact, Ontario hospital workers have had consistently fewer sick days for years.

This is also true if absences due to family or personal responsibilities are included.
Statistics Canada data for the last fifteen years for Canada and Ontario are reported in the chart below, showing Ontario hospital workers are consistently off work less.
Assuming, Ontario accounts for about 38% of the Canada-wide hospital workforce, these figures suggest that the days lost due to illness of injury in Canada excluding Ontario are about 13.6 days per year ([13.6 x 0.68] + [10.2 x 0.38] = 13.1).

In other words, hospital workers in the rest of Canada are absent from work due to illness or disability 1/3 more than Ontario hospital workers. 

In fact, Canad…