Debt costs making Medicare in Ontario unsustainable

A January 20, 2016, blog from the Fraser Institute reinforces the reality that Ontario’s budget deficits and debt servicing costs are making the province’s publicly funded health care system unsustainable. In the next two years [2015-2016 to 2017-2018] the Ontario government itself projects debt servicing costs to increase at an average annual rate of 6.7% vs. 1.8% for health. And, these projections rely on continued low interest rates.

1.8% for health means a real reduction in spending after factoring in population growth, inflation, union contracts and the costs of buying supplies and equipment in USA dollars. It will also add to concerns about wait times and access  as identified in the current grassroots advocacy by Ontario physicians and patients — Care Not Cuts

About 30,000 Ontario patients each year seek care in the USA. But, why should they have to? Moreover, consider the economic impact if they could purchase this care privately in their own province.

Canadians value their taxpayer-funded health care systems. However, Canadians should have a choice to purchase health care privately when the Medicare monopoly fails to deliver timely access to quality care. Governments can be very forceful when the private sector fails to meet expected standards for service and quality. It’s time for governments to “walk the talk” by introducing a health care guarantee.

Canada’s government-run health care system – Medicare -- is a monopoly that prohibits private hospital and private physician care. Medicare is a subpar performer, ranking 10th among 11 advanced countries. Canadians deserve much better! Patients deserve timely access to quality care and choice of hospitals and physicians. Taxpayers deserve much more value for their tax dollars.

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