Ontario has a $300 billion debt (Ontario Debt Clock). Let’s ignore how we got there.
Everyone calls for system change. Everyone. Even Medicare zealots want change.
Wynne got a majority government. Let’s ignore how she got it (bought it?).
Wouldn’t this be a great opportunity for real change? Might this be a great time to solve problems with access, quality and service for patients?
Instead, Wynne and Hoskins use their majority government to attack doctors, again. Because they can.
Change Requires Different, Not More
We could buy a better system by changing the way we spend taxes. Dozens of people have written about it. High needs patients, system integration and acuity modifiers for older, sicker patients offer a few critical places to start.
Fee increases vs. Population increases
Doctors do NOT ask for higher fees. Doctor do NOT want more money for doing the same work. They offered 0% fee increases for two years. 0%! They just don’t want more cuts. They already agreed to cuts in 2012 and 2013.
Doctors want the government to pay for growth.
NOT growth in doctors’ fees. Growth in patient volumes. New babies need care. Immigrants and an aging population increase the volume of services required in Ontario. New doctors provide that care. Or current doctors work harder. Hoskins refuses to pay for it. He calls it a raise to pay doctors’ fees for seeing more patients.
When is a cut not a raise?
What would you call the following?
- You ask your staff to work more for less pay. Is that a cut?
- You pay hospitals the same to see more patients. Is that a cut?
- What if you pay your staff 10% more to do 20% more work? Is that a cut?
- What if you cut the budget, underfund growth and slash-or-cancel programs for new graduates, unattached patients, continuing education, hospital on-call and more? Is that a cut?
Democracy and Law
What kind of government creates a state monopoly, then makes it illegal for 35,000 professionals to work outside the monopoly, then slashes the fees it pays for services provided?
Is this democracy? Is it something else?
Wynne Attacks Doctors and Punishes Patients
Politicians attack who they can and coddle who they must. All that matters is immediate public sentiment. Do voters believe doctors have enough?
- Who cares if doctors hire staff and pay overhead?
- Who cares about student debt?
- Who cares about 12 years of university?
- Who cares if it takes decades to catch up to friends who chose a different career.
- You chose that career!
- Who cares about job stress — everyone is stressed.
- Doctors earn $250 thousand dollars after overhead!
Jealousy: wanting what other people have while being ignorant of the sacrifice required to get it.
Fees drive physician behaviour. Voters don’t see that. Even the most altruistic doctor spends less time with you as a patient if she can only bill OHIP $33 for the visit. What happens if you need 45 minutes? You get less service or cannot find a physician at all.
Doctors will keep seeing patients. They will grumble, but life will go on.
Eventually one of the last two state healthcare monopolies — North Korea and Canada — will wake up and admit that government monopolies hurt patients. They harm patients because they run out of money and get sloppy with management. Every other country in the world has admitted it. Even Sweden believes state monopolies harm patients. Communist Cuba used to stand with us. Now it’s just us and North Korea.
Dark Times Call for Great Leaders
We look to great leaders for direction in tough times. Maybe Wynne and Hoskins might quote a hero:
“There is no such thing as an absolutely hopeless situation.”
Vladimir Lenin in reference to capitalism
photo credit: cp24.com