Have the Ontario Tories ditched some of their long-standing health care issues in the wake of the Drummond report?
On the one hand, Hudak likes Drummond’s idea for even larger Local Health Integration Networks, on the other hand, he remains silent on Drummond’s call to hold the line on new long-term care beds. During the election Hudak called for the elimination of the LHINs and pledged to create 5,000 new long-term care beds and renovate 35,000 more.
While PC Leader Tim Hudak has accused Premier Dalton McGuinty of cherry picking the report, he himself has been all over the map, one day insisting the Premier implement it, the next day carving out his own exceptions from the 362 recommendations.
“If the Premier takes a single one of them off the table he must specify an alternative approach,” Hudak said. And then Hudak himself began taking them off one by one, starting with his call to protect $340 million in revenue from slot machines shared with the horse racing industry.
One of the assumptions of the Drummond Commission report is that if health care services take place in a hospital, it is going to be more expensive.
As Tony Randall once expounded in an episode of television series The Odd Couple, when you “assume,” underlining parts of the word on a blackboard, you end up making an “ass” out of “u” and “me.”
Under such cost assumptions, Drummond recommends anything that isn’t acute care be delivered somewhere else.
The Commissioner does not say what those services would be, but it would be safe to bet it would include rehab, complex continuing care, mental health, palliative care, outpatient clinics and diagnostics, to name but a few. That’s a lot of service to come out of our public hospitals leaving us to wonder what would be left behind?
Hidden among the many recommendations of the Drummond Commission is a surprise warning about the pitfalls of a Canada-European Union Free Trade Agreement.
Drummond points out that the $500 million in savings from the government’s generic drug pricing reforms could be wiped out if the province’s interests are not protected by the Harper government.
Harmonizing patent protection for brand-name drugs to European standards would keep generic drugs off the market for a longer time.
Drummond highlights the findings of a study done by Aidan Hollis (University of Calgary) and Paul Grootendorst (University of Toronto) who noted that if all three of the EU pharmaceutical intellectual property proposals are adopted, it will cost Ontarians up to $1.2 billion annually. Slightly less than half — $551 million, would be added cost to the government, whereas the rest would come out-of-pocket and from private employer health plans.
Don Drummond wants to provide every health care provider with their own pony while the system gets squeezed another notch tighter.
In his report released this week, the Commissioner on Public Sector reform wants to implement everything from increased salaries for the CEOs of the Local Health Integration Networks to triple the per capita spending on public health.
All this is to take place while restraining health care spending increases to 2.5 per cent per year – about half the funding increase from 2011.
Where the savings come from with all this new investment is not clear, nor is there an explanation on how so much can be done with so little. In fact, there is very little costing associated with any of these recommendations.