Hudak health plan adds up to a cut for Ontario health care funding—Harris déjà vu, all over again
Ontario Progressive Conservative (PC) leader, Tim Hudak, yesterday trumpeted a health care plan for Ontario that is, in reality, a cut to health care funding, less than the rate of inflation and less than the current Liberal government yearly investments that are resulting in cuts to programs, beds and services, says Michael Hurley, the president of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU) of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).
“Closer scrutiny of Hudak’s numbers shows that the Tories’ math doesn’t add up to more, but less health funding than the current level under the Liberal government. Ontarians should be very concerned that Hudak’s numbers on health will mean a cut to health funding, not an increase as he boasted yesterday,” says Hurley.
When the health funding numbers are assessed, the $6.1 billion announced by the PCs is less than it appears. Total spending for the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, this year, is $47.139 billion. A $6.1 billion increase is 12.9 per cent over four years, or 3.1 per cent at a time when the consumer price index is increasing at a rate of 3.6 per cent a year. The PC proposed “more” health funding is actually below the rate of inflation, and falls further behind given a growing and ageing population.
“This,” says Hurley, amounts “to less money for health care, not more.”
Much of the money Hudak crowed about will come from federal dollars since the federal government is increasing health care funding by 6 per cent a year. In fact, the federal health care funding increase would account for about half the total provincial funding. In reality, the PCs are proposing a health care funding increase of about 1.6 per cent yearly out of Ontario’s coffers. In 2011, the Ontario Liberal government increased health funding by 4.2 per cent: this was lower than previous increases and has resulted in hospital service cuts. So the PC plan will result in more problems.
“The bottom line is that the PCs are promising to cut health care. They just want to pretend otherwise. It is Mike Harris déjà vu, all over again. Ontario voters should be very leery when Hudak talks about ‘finding savings’ in the health care system; the last time we heard this line from a PC leader, dozens of hospitals were closed, and programs and services were cut. We don’t want go there again,” says Hurley.
For more information, please contact: