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Whether it’s public or private, we’re all paying for long-term care. It should be better

Posted: June 1, 2021

(May 31, 2021)

By: Martin Regg Cohn, Toronto Star

We’ve long known that long-term care is ailing because politicians prefer short-term shortcuts.

In a post-pandemic world, how do we get it right? A persuasive new study on nursing homes suggests a two-step program for reform:

First, the obvious part: governments must allocate more money to whittle down waiting lists — tens of billions of dollars for tens of thousands of aging Ontarians. That’s tough enough in tough times as politicians vie to cut taxes.

Second, the onerous part: demanding value for money while defending our values. Not as simple as it sounds.

The problem with nursing homes isn’t merely that they are cash-starved, but that so many of them are so profitable. All this at the expense of the residents they are supposed to be caring for.

That’s the argument underpinning a new study, “Investing in Care, Not Profit,” co-authored by an impressive roster of public policy experts. Two names, however, stand out from the pack of nine contributors — Tony Dean, Ontario’s top civil servant and cabinet secretary under Liberal and PC governments; and Alex Himelfarb, who ran the federal public service and served three prime ministers.

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