To spend, spend, spend. Or not to spend. That is the question.

 

Only 48 hours before a new Fraser Institute study found provincial health care systems to be unsustainable, the union-backed Ontario Health Coalition conducted an unofficial province-wide referendum as a novel way to oppose budget cuts to hospitals.

The coalition’s Stop Hospital Cuts Now Referendum asked Ontario residents to vote Yes or No to the statement: “Ontario’s government must stop the cuts to our community hospitals and restore services, funding and staff to meet our communities’ needs for care.” Businesses with steady foot traffic were asked to host voting stations outside their stores on May 28, 2016. Hundreds of ballot boxes were located in communities across the province.

The ballots will go to Queen’s Park in hopes of sending a message to the Liberal government to restore hospital funding. The Ontario Health Coalition says this is the ninth consecutive year of real-dollar budget cuts to Ontario’s hospitals.

The coalition includes members affiliated with the Canadian Union of Public Employees [CUPE], United Steelworkers [USW], Ontario Public Service Employees Union [OPSEU], United Food and Commercial Workers [UFCW], Ontario Nurses Association [ONA], Congress of Union Retirees, Council of Canadians and Canadian Doctors for Medicare.

On the other hand, the Fraser Institute cautions: “Any changes in the amount spent on health care can have a significant impact on a government’s fiscal balance (deficits or surpluses), the resources available for other programs such as education and social services, and/or tax competitiveness.”

Ontario

Health Care Spending as % of Program Spending          Health Care Spending as % of Economy [GDP]

1998 – 35.9%                                                                            1998 – 5.2%

2015 – 42.9%                                                                            2015 – 6.9%

2030 – 49.5%                                                                            2030 – 9.7%

 

 

 

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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