July 27, 2004
On Monday, Ontario's health minister George Smitherman announced $470 million in extra funding to hospitals to "shorten waiting times and increase prevention programs. The new money will help people get cardiac care, cancer care, joint replacements and cataract surgery".
Am I getting this right?
This government recently has first de-listed physiotherapy, chiropractic and optometry from the list of government-paid services. These could have possibly prevented heart attacks, joint replacements and cataract surgery.
Now it wants to pay exactly for cardiac care, joint replacements and cataract surgery and calls this "prevention"?
Our Minister of health has learnt from his colleagues how to propagate false statements as "truth", and sure enough there was no backlash from the major media.
This $470 million is only a drop in the bucket. It represents a 4.3 percent increase over last year, while in previous years hospital costs have gone up by 8%. How can this be reported as "good news?" At best, we will have to spend even more in the near future.
Throwing more money to hospitals without reforming the system is only going to delay the final crisis.
The Family Coalition Party of Ontario has long ago recognized the need for immediate reforms to healthcare. In its 2003 election campaign, our party has proposed a complete overhaul of the system by introducing Medical Savings Accounts.
This is a time when new and radical ideas need to be explored, as the aging population and a the decreasing number of young people in the work force are putting all of our public services under stress.