OHC: URGENT ALERT
Posted: March 22, 2007
(March 22, 2007)
This is urgent. Supporters of public medicare – your help is needed today. Please read and forward to all your contacts. Thank you very much. Natalie Mehra, Ontario Health Coalition
John Tory and the Ontario Conservatives have aligned themselves with for-profit health interests and have launched an aggressive offensive to try to win support for privatizing the health system. His media campaign is gaining steam. Please take the time to read the briefing materials below. We are calling upon supporters of the public health system to do the following:
– Please call a friend or two, email this information out, and come out to all actions on this issue.
– write letters to the editor or opinion editorials to your local newspaper if it is reporting on this story
– call your local MPP – no matter what party – and tell them you want them to publicly oppose the privatization of our health system
– pass on this information to friends and colleagues today
What is happening:
The Globe and Mail has led an aggressive media campaign in favour of for-profit privatization of hospital services this week. The recent attempt to force the government to purchase hip and knee surgeries from a for-profit surgical center in Toronto is an excellent example of an orchestrated political campaign by the conservative party and their wealthy business friends. A private company called Don Mills Surgical Centre (a for-profit hospital grandfathered in when Medicare was started) approached the ministry to sell for-profit surgeries for public health care dollars. The story was given to the Globe and Mail. Health Minister George Smitherman was asked to comment and said unequivocally that he would not privatize these services. The story ended up on the front page as though the Health Minister was refusing a private sector contract that would help reduce wait times. Two days later the private clinic claims to The Globe that
it can do the surgery cheaper than hospitals.
The conservative party supported this unfounded assertion and has been raising questions in the legislature. The Globe and a number of newspapers are running similar editorials in four communities supporting the for-profit clinic’s bid to force the Liberals into privatization. The story is pitched to make it seem as though the private clinics will somehow add to the public system – rather than taking away – and is timed to score political points for John Tory and the Conservatives leading into the election. Although we are usually called upon to comment on such events, no commentary from the anti-privatization groups has been included in the story. The only opposition printed has been a letter to the editor from the OHC.
Key Arguments and Facts:
Globe and Mail (March 20, 2007)
Profiting from sense
Letter to the Editor
Re: Ontario’s Dismissal of Privately Provided Care – Editorial, March 19
By Natalie Mehra
Commercial secrecy, competition and the administrative burdens of the for-profits in health care work against co-ordination, integration and efficiency.
The British Medical Journal reports that Britain’s experiment with for-profit surgical clinics resulted in dramatically higher costs per procedure.
The meta analysis of the outcomes in for-profits published in the Canadian Medical Journal shows that for-profit hospitals and clinics in the U.S. not only cost more but deliver higher patient mortality rates.
Would any sensible CEO encourage her most highly trained, expensive and scarce staff to set up side businesses of their own, siphoning time and energy away from the core enterprise? Can you think of a more predictable recipe for cost increases and shortages?
But in this “election silly season,” don’t let the facts get in the way of ideology.
Natalie Mehra is the Director of the Ontario Health Coalition