Ladies and Gentlemen of Ontario:
In the coming days, Ontario’s Progressive Conservative Party will attempt to grab headlines with a phony plan to tackle the budget deficit by reforming health care delivery. It will be a phony plan, because it will propose no reduction in health care spending and so will have no impact on budget expenses.
Just as former PC leader John Tory did before, Tim Hudak’s PCs will again propose more private delivery of health care, and argue that more private delivery will make health care more cost efficient. As the PC party president wrote on September 8, 2012, the PC proposals: “…will be based on our belief that we can’t grow our economy, or balance the books, without reforming the delivery of health care – the single largest provincial program expenditure.” There are two main problems with attempting to balance the budget by reforming health care “delivery”:
- Health care already is privately delivered.
Physicians are not government employees. They are private business persons who are paid by the government for the services they delivery to patients. Private clinics, similarly, are paid by the government. If Tim Hudak’s PCs refuse to de-list health care services and refuse to cut health care spending, government money simply will go to more private clinics instead of to hospitals (some of which are, likewise, privately owned).
- Increased delivery efficiencies can have no effect on the budget if the government’s health care spending is not reduced.
So long as the Progressive Conservatives maintain that they will not actually cut spending on health care, any promised increase in delivery efficiency will not reduce government spending and so will not decrease the budget deficit. Even were it possible to find efficiencies sufficient to prevent increases in health care spending, any balancing of the budget would not be attributable to such efficiencies. Rather, such balancing would be attributable only to increased revenues, or to decreased spending on other matters.
Ladies and gentlemen, despite the PCs’ claim, the PC health care delivery proposals will have nothing to do with balancing the budget, because the proposals will not include an actual reduction of government spending on health care as compared to current levels of spending. The effects of the PCs’ health care delivery white paper can only be:
- to create the appearance of proposing fiscal responsibility, without actually proposing it;
- to shore up dwindling support on the right by creating the false impression that the PCs are proposing a political “hard right turn” while in fact remaining advocates of the socialist, anti-free-market, single-payor, government monopoly health care system the PCs introduced in 1969; and
- to distract from condemnation the PCs have been suffering as a result of union bashing.
In Freedom Party of Ontario’s 2012 Opposition Budget proposals, and in our recent by-election commercial, Freedom Party criticized Dalton McGuinty and Tim Hudak for false promises to eliminate Ontario’s massive budget deficit without reducing spending on health care and education. The Tim Hudak PCs’ recycled proposals to “increase efficiencies”, “reduce red tape”, “eliminate waste”, etc. in the delivery of health care will not change the fact that will remain after the release of the PC white paper: Ontario’s PCs, like the Liberals, have no authentic plan to eliminate Ontario’s budget deficit.
Leader, Freedom Party of Ontario
For further details, contact:
Paul McKeever, B.Sc.(Hons), M.A., LL.B.
Leader – Freedom Party of Ontario
Office Telephone: 905-721-9772