I have to admit I was asleep at the wheel at the onset of this one. On day two of Premier Doug Ford’s reign, a Saturday of a long weekend no less, a brief news release slithered out of Health Minister Christine Elliott’s office declaring the Progressive Conservatives will fix the OHIP program to make it more cost-effective. On April 1, 2019 they start saving money by not paying legitimate health claims. Young people aged 24 and under will no longer receive prescription medication coverage if their parents have a workplace or private insurance plan. If they have no plan, or face additional costs (no definition provided) they can turn to the government. That means they must pay for the needed medication up front and wait, perhaps months, for reimbursement if approved. Mr. Ford spoke often of the “party with taxpayers’ dollars” being over and promised to protect health-care spending. Since when is the essential health care of Canadian young people a “party”, and the slashing of funding to that sector of society “protection”. All parties supported OHIP+ when it was introduced, why is it now a victim of Mr. Ford’s myopia?
Mr. Ford touts efficiency as a primary pillar of his government. Clearly this action which duplicates overhead and services, increases administrative and diagnostic costs, eliminates economy of scale purchasing, stifles generic drug research, development and use and requires payment before prescription is much more cost-effective and efficient than a single-pay system! (sarcasm intended)
Similarly, the cancelling of cap-and-trade, imperfect as it was, axed more money from the health-care system. With the cancellation of what Mr. Ford labelled a “slush” fund, 98 Hospitals, including, for example, Barrie’s Royal Victoria Hospital that received $1 million to reduce patient room costs, have seen desperately needed funding drain out the back door. Certainly cost-effective and efficient! Investment in health care is not, in my opinion, a “party with taxpayers’ dollars”. We are hearing announcements of the opening of new hospital and long-term-care beds; however, given the government’s track record to date we have to wonder what essential service is being axed to fund them, or maybe it is our wallet!
Stay tuned for the gutting of our health care as the Peoples’ Health Care Act moves forward and we move ever closer to two-tiered, privatized health-care. A system modelled on American health care that is so effective, efficient and admired world-wide. Admired by private clinics, profit based hospitals, investors and insurance companies that is. Oh, and did I mention that Mr. Ford’s health-care advisor is Dr. Reuben Devlin, former CEO of Humber River Hospital, who shut-down a hospital that served Toronto’s Jane/Finch working class neighbourhood, is a former president of the Ontario PC Party and a vocal advocate of privatized health-care.
Much more can and will be said; however, sufficient to say at this juncture that Mr. Ford’s “Government for the People” is turning out to be “government to the people”.
Other views are welcome.