Posted June 19, 2012
I was sent an email the other day about a Toronto doctor saying the McGuinty budget includes a dangerous provision. It is one that forces anyone 75 and older to submit to Ontario Hospital Insurance Plan (OHIP) “public ethics committees” before being treated.
If true, “da preem” can start planning his retirement.
appears ludicrous that our aging population would be forced to submit to some nameless committee that meets twice a week in order to receive OHIP benefits. Imagine a senior whose physician has ordered a series of tests, presenting his or her medical treatment requirement to a group of stony-faced bureaucrats.
The stress alone would shorten their life span.
But wait? Supposing this report is untrue. Supposing the doctor, who claims it to be true, is an agent provocateur of the Ontario Medical Association (OMA). You will recall there is a pitched battle going on between the Provincial Health Ministry and the doctors.
A lot of propaganda has been exchanged between the parties. Separating the truth from the hyperbole remains a daunting task for the taxpayers who pay the bills.
The language of the bureaucracy defeats understanding the aspects of the squabble. The result is it spreads confusion and misunderstanding together creating distrust on the part of Ontario’s health services consumers.
This is unlike any trade union dispute.
The protagonists are highly trained professionals who are also highly paid for their services.
That’s as it should be because everyone in the country is entitled to healthcare. So states the Canada Health Act that has been around for almost 50 years. The result is that Canadians are collectively among the healthiest in the world.
So why are consumers entitled to health treatments being threatened with drastic measures that go beyond reasonable rationing of those services?
Most consumer/patients are tolerant of wait times and minor inconveniences.
Some abuse the system through over-use of emergency services for treatment of minor ailments.
But subjecting seniors, almost 30 per cent of the population of Ontario, to have treatment approved by so-called ethics committees, is not only an affront to seniors but also a breach of the Canada Health Act.
Ontario’s doctors are quasi civil servants. They are paid from the public pot and the McGuinty government in the past nine years has been generous in dealing with the doctors.
But like many Ontarians who are feeling the effects of reduced pay and benefits due to the economic conditions, the provincial government has to tighten its belt. The budget document reflects that necessary reduction in spending.
The argument may be made that the McGuinty government has mismanaged the province’s economy in such a way that revenues are not meeting expenditures.
Nine years in power can create a malaise, a softening of resolve. This minority government is tired and overdue for a change.
Meanwhile the doctors should get back to the table and bargain in good faith. The government should look for other avenues to reduce or cut costs in order to maintain our cherished public health system.