Letter to the Editor: “It’s not about the money” is a familiar opening in a conversation about health care. It usually signals bafflegab is coming because a sensible, responsible, grownup discussion about healthcare is about money. All else is window dressing and misdirection. Social programs are maintained by money, taxpayers’ money. And a program’s efficacy is determined by the budgets allocated to it.
In terms of money spent, Ontario is failing the public healthcare system. The Financial Accountability Office of Ontario reports that the government doubled its funding for private clinics in the final quarter of the last fiscal year (January to March) compared to the previous three quarters of the year. It has continued to increase funding for private clinics ever since, overspending the private clinics budget line while it has underspent on public health care by $1.25billion this year so far.
Bill 60 is not about tackling the backlog in surgeries and diagnostics. The public system is being abandoned and people are suffering. Our public hospital operating rooms could handle patient needs on a non-profit basis as they always have done. The lack of capacity preventing them is caused by government underfunding. Bill 60 is really about the creation of a costly alternative that gives the for-profits the opportunity to cash in on ill health, aging, and frailty.
Privatization was not a ballot question in 2022 and waiting till the election of 2026 is not feasible. Participate in the citizens referendum throughout SDG and Cornwall on May 26-27. Vote to tell the government if you want our public hospital services to be privatized to for-profit hospitals and clinics.
Co-chair of the SDG/Cornwall Health Coalition