Freedom Party of Ontario


For immediate release

Rationing and Death in Ontario's Hospitals

Ontario Health ALREADY Consumes
59% of Total Tax Revenue

Brother almost died from lack of operating rooms: McKeever
Fraser Institute Study Sugar-coats Problem;
Makes Flawed Recommendations

October 2, 2006, Toronto
- Freedom Party leader Paul McKeever says the Fraser Institute's negative assessment of Ontario's failing health insurance system nonetheless paints far too rosy a picture, and makes recommendations that will do nothing to improve the sustainability and quality of health care in Ontario.  Entitled "Paying More Getting Less 2006: Measuring the Sustainability of Public Health Insurance in Canada", the report warns that, at their present rate of growth, Ontario's health care expenditures will consume 50% of all Ontario revenue by the year 2020.

"The Fraser Institute refers to total revenue, including profits from crown corporations, federal transfers, and other non-tax revenues such as fees", says McKeever.  "What the report does not mention is that health expenditures in Ontario already consume 59% Ontario's provincial tax revenues. 

"In fact, current health care expenditures currently consume 99% of the revenues generated by three of Ontario's four income taxes: the Corporations Tax, the Personal Income Tax, and the Employer Health Tax", says McKeever.

According to the 2006 Ontario budget, health care expenditures for 2006-07 are expected to total $35.4B.  Ontario's Corporations Tax brings in revenues of $9.8B; the Personal Income Tax brings in $21.7B; and the Employer Health Tax brings in $4.3B.  Combined, those three taxes on income bring in revenues of $35.8B.

Numbers Fail to Reveal Frightening Reality Facing Patients, Families

"But what statistics and dollar amounts do not reveal", said McKeever, "is the grim and frightening reality faced by patients and their families in Ontario's hospitals, where a government monopoly on health insurance has led necessarily to rationing of service.

"Just two Saturdays ago, I sat by my 33-year-old brother's bedside at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto.  His very life depended upon being operated upon immediately, yet he was told that there is only one operating theatre open on the weekend.  Another fellow had rammed into a bridge abutment with his motorcycle and occupied the only operating room for almost 24 hours while my brother waited, on the verge of death, in his room. 

"When the theatre cleared, two interns were sent to bring my brother to the operating room.  Nurses subsequently rushed in upset that the interns were not moving my brother fast enough.  The nurses took over and, to save time, brought him bed-and-all to the operating room so as to save the time involved in transferring him to a more portable device. 

"Then came the explanation: they had to rush my brother to the operating room because if someone else got there before my brother, he would have to wait again. 

"In short, even one of the biggest and most important hospitals in the province has been reduced to the point that ones very life depends upon how fast an intern can push a gurney. 

Headlines, Partisan Spin, Ignore Need for Fundamental Insurance Reform

"To say that I'm outraged is an understatement. Yet what do we see today, on the anniversary of the Premier's election?  Headlines and trumpeting of horns about how he's making everything better than previous administrations, combined with criticisms from an oppositionless opposition that - unwilling or unable to come forth with any policies of their own - get away with saying nothing more than that the premier "lacks leadership" or "doesn't have a plan".  Well, from my perspective, neither of them has a plan, and they are both sadly lacking in the leadership department.

Fraser Institute's Recommendations Fail to Address the Real Problem

The Fraser Institute's report recommends, in part, that "both for-profit and non-profit health providers [be permitted to] compete for the delivery of publicly insured health services" (p. 23).

"It is not entirely clear why a purported voice for capitalism is making recommendations about how to save a public health insurance monopoly", says McKeever.  "Increasing competition between health care providers of OHIP benefits might lower costs if they are also required to compete with one another but, even with competition between health care providers, it will do nothing to fix the real problem facing Ontario's health care system.  As the Supreme Court of Canada recognized last year, it is a system in which health care is rationed, and in which patients suffer and die as a result.  It is a system founded on the philosophy that it is morally wrong for you to get faster or better treatment by spending your own earnings; that if the poor are going to suffer or die, it is morally right that everyone suffer or die to the same extent.  Well, in my view, it is down-right evil for the government to force everyone into a government queue when it knows that doing so will result in unnecessary suffering and death.

"The Fraser Institute's recommendations will do nothing to fix the sacrificial philosophy pursuant to which health care services are allocated in this province.  To fix the problems that result from a monopoly, you bring in competition.  To fix Ontario's health insurance system, we need to lift the ban on private health insurance, not find ways to extend the life of the government's monopoly." 

In 1969, the Progressive Conservative government of John Robarts imposed a ban on private health insurance, set up a government health insurance monopoly, and introduced the provincial income tax to pay for it.  Freedom Party released its 2007 Election Platform (entitled "The Right Direction") almost one year ago, on October 4, 2005.  The platform sets out a plan to repeal Ontario's income tax and restore choice in health insurance.

For further details, contact:

Paul McKeever
Cell: ***-***-****
e-mail: ****

This media release distributed to all major news media and to Ontario's MPPs.

Freedom Party of Ontario
240 Commissioners Road West
London, Ontario

Tel: 1-800-830-3301