UR News

The Ministry's new Deal is bad for Your Health

Ken Lai

By Ken Lai

The tentative agreement reached last week by the Ministry of Health and the Ontario Medical Association (OMA) regarding the physician services budget has been touted across the media as a great deal. You, the public, our patients, deserve to know the implications.
If the contract is declined there will be ongoing cuts to physician services. If the contract is ratified there will still be cuts.
The 2.5% increase in funding is still less than historical averages of what's actually necessary. It is still not enough to fund basic services. The truth is, because of immigration and the aging population, patient need grows by 3.1 to 3.5% according to the OMA Economics Department.
The government has also offered financial incentives for physicians not to use all of the funding; it seems as though the government does not want doctors to provide as many services for you. This runs against a physician's primary purpose, which is to provide the best care possible.
You know how long you wait to see your specialist or GP or to access imaging, therapy or elective surgery. At best these waits will remain the same. In all likelihood, these waits will get worse.
Despite what you may hear on the radio or read in the paper from government ads, Ontario does not have the best health care system in the world (look up OECD statistics for the hard facts). The health system is sinking and the Ontario government cannot afford to fund it adequately due to years of economic mismanagement and scandals such as e-Health, ORNGE, gas plants, and so on. The provincial debt is enormous.
The real question is, how do we fix it? Allow a second tier of private care like in Saskatchewan? Have OHIP fund fewer services? Increase taxes? Make patients responsible for co-payments? Accept that we can help you right away if you are dying, but not if you are suffering?
One thing is certain; continued cuts to physicians, hospitals, nurses, and allied health services will not fix our problems.
Please let Premier Wynne and Health Minister Hoskins know your thoughts on the matter. Mail them a letter or stand with Concerned Ontario Doctors on July 22 at 1 PM in front of Health Minister Hoskins office (80 Grosvenor St., Toronto) to demand a better way to manage the healthcare budget.

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