How much do you know about banker Don Drummond’s 105 recommendations for Ontario’s health system? Last fall Drummond was engaged by the province to come up with a roadmap for reform of the public sector.
Attending this year’s OPSEU Convention (April 19-21), Becky Thomson scored 7 out of 7 on our quiz and won a $100 gift certificate courtesy OPSEU’s Health Care Divisional Council. Incidentally, $100 is 1/15th of what Drummond got paid per day to work on his report.
Test your knowledge — answers follow the “continue reading” link.
1. In between emergency calls, Don Drummond would like ambulance paramedics to…
a. Conduct home care visits
b. Change the oil and filter on their ambulance
c. Practice using Milton Bradley’s “Operation”
2. Don Drummond doesn’t believe in freezing wages, however he proposes to…
a. Give health care employers no money for wage increases
b. Move hospitals to Indiana unless health care workers agree to cut their wages in half
c. Literally hand out workers’ wages encased in a block of ice
3. Don Drummond refers to a TD Economics report that predicts health care will take up 80 per cent of Ontario’s program spending by 2030. Who wrote that TD Economics Report?
b. The same folks who wrecked the economy in 2008
c. Don Drummond
4. Don Drummond says he wants to resist the natural temptation to…
a. Do the right thing
b. Build many more long-term care homes despite an aging population and long waits for beds
c. Scratch somewhere impolite
5. Don Drummond wants to spend more on..
a. Mental health, home care and public health
b. Pizza for the post-Commission wrap party
c. Another Commission
6. Don Drummond wants to spend less on
a. Hospitals and doctors
b. Beano anti-gas tablets
7. The Drummond Report is…
a. A warmed over version of the existing McGuinty health plan
b. A roadmap to further private delivery of public health care
c. Uncosted and impractical
d. All of the Above
1. Answer a) is correct. Drummond claimed that this is already being done in Nova Scotia. When we contacted Terry Chapman, who represents the Nova Scotia paramedics, he said the “home care” under discussion is not what we would traditionally view as normal home care services. “Currently it is in one location, which is on an island,” he said. What the paramedics deliver is routine assessments, not the kind care one would expect from a VON nurse, for example. Terry tells us that there is talk of evaluating the program. This is the basis for Don Drummond’s recommendation? Sheesh.
2. Answer a) is correct. Drummond believes that legislated wage freezes eventually lead to a catch-up period and are therefore ineffective. By removing the ability of health care employers to pay wage increases, he believes this would lead to greater efficiencies. Does Drummond somehow believe denying health care workers reasonable wage increases at the bargaining table will not lead to a similar catch-up later on? No wonder he also wants to stack the arbitration process against workers!
3. Answer c) is correct, although we will score anybody who said b). Yes, Don Drummond’s authority on this issue is, you guessed it, Don Drummond. Kind of circular, no? He did have a hand from Derek Burleton (TD Bank’s Deputy Chief economist at the time) on the paper. Bankers evidently couldn’t see the mess they made in 2008, but expect us to trust them on their vision of health care. Uh, no thanks.
4. Answer is b), although we’d accept a) too. The government is convinced that we need to hold the line on licensing any new long-term care beds despite 24,000 Ontarians who are presently waiting for one, and another 12,000 who are not in a bed of their choosing. Don Drummond likes this, sold on the idea that these people could be served “in the community.” It’s what Tory MPP John O’Toole likes to call the “aging alone” strategy. Meanwhile, where is the funding for these “alternate” services?
5. Answer is a) and c), although we suspect b) may also be true. Drummond calls for major investment in mental health and home care. He really likes BC’s public health system, and believes Ontario should triple funding to match BC’s investment – something the province ignored altogether in the spring budget. Meanwhile he also is recommending limiting health care funding increases to 2.5 per cent per year – far below what the Auditor General found to be an aggressive target for restraint (3.7%). The Liberals went even lower at 2.1 per cent. Drummond also wants a separate commission to make sure the banker’s recommendations are being implemented. Drummond is not shy about creating new administrative bodies in his health plan.
6. Answer is a) although we’d accept c) too. Doctors and hospitals are covered under the Canada Health Act. Coincidence? I think not. There seems to be plenty of money in Drummond’s world for health care delivery by private for-profit entities.
7. Answer is d) — all of the above. Drummond’s summary reads like a collection of McGuinty platforms from the past eight years. There is very little in his recommendations we haven’t seen before, and of that, some of it is quite bizarre (see question 1). Without costing associated with any of these recommendations, we are expected to believe that under unprecedented fiscal restraint everybody gets a pony. And the more health care gets carved off to private for-profit entities, the easier it is to erode Medicare by stealth.
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