Austerity and the Crisis in Healthcare

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A Socialist Project e-bulletin ... No. 2032 ... March 26, 2020

Austerity and the Crisis in Healthcare

Ontario Health Coalition

Analysis of the Ontario Government’s Economic Statement

Ontario’s government released its economic statement today (March 25). Overall, they are providing $3.3-billion for healthcare, another $3.7-billion in supports for people and businesses, and $10-billion for other deferrals and tax "relief."

The Ontario Health Coalition’s key message: The overall funding announcement for healthcare of $3.3-billion amounts to a funding increase of about 5 per cent. This is approximately what is needed to just to meet population growth, aging, inflation and utilization at not much more than current levels. Please note: that total includes the $1-billion COVID-19 contingency fund that the government announced today.

Within the particular health subsectors the numbers need to be put into the context. Ontario is far behind due to years of austerity budgets, downsizing of public hospitals beyond all reason, and rationing of long-term care to levels far less than population need. We have a long way to go just to catch up. It is not unreasonable to demand that we... catch up. Ontario funds healthcare at among the very the lowest rates of any province in Canada and we are at the bottom of the country in hospital funding.

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