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An analysis of Ontario’s plans to build hospitals as Public Private Partnerships shows taxpayers will likely pay millions more than they would were the hospitals publicly owned.

Prepared for CUPE by Lewis Auerbach, a former director of audit operations for the Auditor General of Canada, the report also signals that other areas of health care spending could be cut back to pay for these expensive lease arrangements.

My conclusion is that these P3s are almost certainly more expensive to the tune of millions of dollars per hospital, says Auerbach. I’m also concerned the size of these financial obligations will crowd out needed expenditures in other parts of the health system, particularly home care and group homes.

Auerbach dismisses arguments there is no alternative but to turn to the private sector to finance these hospitals. This rationale is bogus, he says. The absence of capital funds for publicly owned hospitals is a completely self-imposed constraint.

This report follows studies in Britain and the US that show huge staff and bed cuts and higher mortality rates in P3 hospitals, says Michael Hurley, President of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions.

Not only is the government using sleight-of-hand to argue that privatization is cheaper, it is also intent on ignoring studies that have made it crystal clear that private health care kills more people and costs nearly twice as much as our existing public system, adds Hurley.

For a copy of Auerbach’s report visit http://cupe.ca/downloads/p3_auerbach_eng.pdf