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Ontario Health Coalition presents latest report into privatization at Cornwall event

Posted: February 22, 2024

(February 21, 2024) by: Shawna O’Neill, Cornwall Standard-Freeholder

Cornwall was once again a host as the Ontario Health Coalition released its most-recent report on privatizing services available at publicly funded hospitals on Wednesday.
Ontario Health Coalition Cornwall/SDG chapter co-chairs Elaine MacDonald and Louise Lanctot spoke about how the coalition believes policies approved by the Premier Doug Ford’s government continue to destabilize Ontario’s publicly funded hospital system and support a private, for-profit model.
Cornwall is a frequent stop for the coalition, given how active the local chapter is in helping promote its advocacy.
MacDonald said the recent announcement the Ontario Ministry of Health is distributing $4,074,398 in funding to the local Great River Ontario Health Team is great news. She said she attended the Ontario legislature’s standing committee on finance and economic affairs’ pre-budget discussions at the end of January where local voices from the Great River Ontario Health Team stressed an even greater funding need: $165 million provincewide (a 12.3 per cent increase) over the next five years.
“Right now, without a major infusion of cash, (health clinics are) in danger… of a progressive loss of services,” said MacDonald. “These government ‘good news’ announcements lose their lustre when you look at the context… I thought this was a great example of how the (provincial) government tries to counter any kind of bad report (like the Ontario Health Coalition’s) with a ‘good news’ announcement.”
MacDonald proceeded to focus on the topic of hospital privatization, breaking down what she called a three-part horror story for attendees, including information about the province budgeting for less than what it needs, underspending what is budgeted, and disproportionately using public funding to support private clinical ventures. She said the province has not properly budgeted for the current rate of inflation.
“It’s a system that’s ripe to be monetized, which is of course not in compatible with the Canada Health Act,” said MacDonald.
Lanctot told a personal story about a family member who moved from the public to the private health system for eye surgery who was charged $1,700 for each eye. Referencing an Ontario Health Coalition report released Wednesday titled Robbing the Public to Build the Private: The Ford Government’s Hospital Privatization Scheme, Lanctot spoke about how data supports that public hospitals will receive approximately $508 for cataract surgery while the Don Mills Surgical Unit Ltd. for-profit hospital, for example, can receive up to $1,264 for the same surgery.
In closing, the co-chairs said they want to ask Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry MPP Nolan Quinn and the provincial government which investors the government is accommodating in its privatization efforts “because it’s not the taxpayer.”
The coalition held events to promote the report at Queen’s Park in Toronto, as well as in Brampton, London, Welland, and Waterloo.
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