Skip to main content

Hudak PCs announce plan to (not) support health care

Well it's confirmed.  The Ontario Progressive Conservatives are going to try to run as defenders of health care.

The only problem is that what they are promising falls far short of the reality of actually defending health care.

Yesterday, the PCs announced that the party's 'top' funding priority will be health care: they will increase health care spending $6.1 billion per year more.  Sounds good right?

However, they only promise to get to the extra $6.1 billion by the end of their first term -- four years from the election.  Moreover, as health care is an expensive proposition, $6.1 billion is less than it appears.   Total spending for the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care this year is $47.139 billion.  So a $6.1 billion increase is a 12.9% increase.  With four years to get to that increase,  the average annual increase would be only 3.1%.   

That's less than the current rate of inflation in Ontario: currently the consumer price index is increasing at a rate of 3.6% per year.

Moreover given an aging population, the ability of doctors to secure very significant funding increases, and the rising costs of private sector health care  (i.e. medical technology and drugs), few, if any, seriously doubt that health care inflation runs higher than the consumer price index.    

The proposed increases are a lot less than the Liberals provided:  this year is lower than average but health care operating spending is still getting a 4.2% increase - and even with this hospital services are being cut.

The bottom line: the PCs are promising to cut health care.  They just want to pretend otherwise.

Ohh... by the way, Hudak told the Canadian Press"Every penny that we get from the Harper government will go into our system, and we'll top it off as well." 

This is pretty nervy.  The federal government is increasing health care funding 6% per year -- almost twice the rate Hudak is promising.  In fact, the federal health care funding increase would account for about half the total provincial funding increase.  In other words, the PCs are only planning to increase health care funding about 1.6% per year out of money they themselves will raise.  (Whoopee.)

Finally, from the few words the PCs released, hospitals appear to be under special threat.  More on that tomorrow.


Popular posts from this blog

Ontario long-term care staffing falls far short of other provinces

CUPE and others are campaigning for a legislated minimum average of four worked hours of nursing and personal care per resident per day in long-term care (LTC) facilities.  New research indicates that not only is LTC underfunded in Ontario, it is also understaffed compared to the other provinces. 
LTC staffing falls short:  The latest data published by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (and based on a mandatory survey undertaken by Statistics Canada) indicates that staffing at long-term care (LTC) facilities falls far short of other provinces. 
Part of this is driven by a low level of provincial funding for LTC.

Ontario has 0.575 health care full-time equivalent employees (FTEs) per bed staffed and in operation.[1]  The rest of Canada reports 0.665 health care FTEs.[2] The rest of Canada has 15.7% more health care staff per bed staffed and in operation than Ontario.[3] 

No other province reports fewer LTC health care staff per resident (or per bed) than Ontario.[4]

Occupancy r…

More spending on new hospitals and new beds? Nope

Hospital funding:  There is something off about the provincial government's Budget claims on hospital capital funding (funding to build and renovate hospital beds and facilities).   

For what it is worth (which is not that much, given the long time frame the government cites), the province claims it will increase hospital capital spending over the next 10 years from $11 billion to $20 billion – or on average to about $2 billion per year.  But, this is just a notional increase from the previous announcement of future hospital capital spending. 

Moreover, even if we did take this as a serious promise and not just a wisp of smoke, the government's own reports shows they have actually funded hospital infrastructure about $3 billion a year over the 2011/12-2015/16 period.

So this “increase” is really a decrease from past actual spending. Even last year's (2016-17) hospital capital funding increase was reported in this Budget at $2.3 billion - i.e. about 15% more than they have ann…

Health care funding falls, again

Real provincial government health care funding per-person has fallen again this year in Ontario, the third year in a row.  Since 2009 real funding per-person has fallen 2.6% -- $63 per person. 

Across Canada real per person funding is in its fourth consecutive year of increase. Since 2009, real provincial funding across Canada is up $89 -- 3.6%.
In fact the funding gap between Ontario and Canada as a whole has gown consistently for years (as set out below in current dollars).

Ontario funds health care less than any other province -- indeed, the province that funds health care the second least (B.C.) provides $185 more per person per year, 4.7% more.  
Provincial health care spending in the rest of Canada (excluding Ontario) is now  $574 higher per person annually than in Ontario. 

 Ontario has not always provided lower than average health care funding increases-- but that has been the general pattern since 2005.
Private expenditures on health care have exceeded Ontario government increases …