During the 2022 Spring election campaign, Conservatives and Doug Ford were repeatedly asked if privatization was on their agenda. It was denied over and over again that it was … several times in fact. And yet shortly after the conservative government was re-elected, out they came with announcement of adding/funding more private for profit clinic, taking services away from our not-for profit hospitals.
Today, Ontario now funds our public hospitals at the lowest rate of any province in Canada despite the government's claims that it pays more for health care than ever before. Creating a crisis to justify dismantling our precious public health care system only to hand it over to private, for-profit corporations is not the answer.
There are far better options available such as making use of the capacity that presently exists in our underutilized public hospital operating rooms and diagnostic testing facilities.
Make no mistake about it, private healthcare services will only cost us more, one way or the other. Privatization of public services always costs more and delivers less. All one has to do is remember back to the disasters that happened in the private for profit LTC facilities during the pandemic. In fact, as you may recall, the problem was so serious that the army was called in to service some of the private for profit homes…
We know by experience that privatization costs more, for example when looking at costs, a knee replacement in a public hospital in Ontario costs about $10,000, whereas the same surgery in a private clinic can cost up to $28,000. Cataract surgeries in private clinics can also cost a whole lot more than they do in our public system. British Columbia has already brought cataract surgeries back into their public system due to their failed experiment with private delivery.
So it is clear - privatization of healthcare is not about saving money. It is not about adding staff. In fact, private clinics will draw healthcare workers from the public system as there are only so many staff available to go around. So - Bill 60, meant to allow for the further proliferation of private healthcare services, will not solve the shortage of workers and will only serve to lengthen wait times in the public system.
There is a clear alternative that would provide more timely health care services for Ontarians. That would be to fund our public hospitals at the levels required to make full use of the capacity we already have.