Roger Martin advocates government treat worker health plans as a taxable benefit.
Is Roger Martin having us on?
This morning the publicly funded Institute for Competitiveness & Prosperity released a working paper on policy opportunities for Ontario’s health care system during Longwood’s Breakfast With The Chiefs speaker series.
Roger Martin, the former Dean of the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, was breezy in his presentation of the paper’s eight big ideas.
Some of it is the predictable low-hanging fruit, such as the need to get on with electronic medical records, reforming primary care delivery and focusing on end-of-life care (which accounts for one-third to one-half of a person’s lifetime health expenditures).
More alarming, three of the recommendations are essentially a manifesto for shifting the cost of health care away from the collective to the individual, and especially to low-income Ontarians.
In the brief question period after Martin’s presentation, his argument for co-payment on health care costs failed to get much attention despite being the most radical. Perhaps the audience felt it so far-fetched it was unlikely to get any traction from government despite coming from an advisor to the Premier.
Memo: To the Honourable Kathleen Wynne, Premier, Province of Ontario
From: Your new pals at OPSEU Diablogue
Dear Premier Wynne –
Imagine our surprise when we discovered in today’s newspaper that the public sector unions are in fact running government. We have to give thanks to PC Leader Tim Hudak for pointing this out, because we had no idea this had taken place.
Anybody who reads our BLOG will note that we have had many recent differences, ranging from your government’s addiction to costly private-public partnerships to the present round of deep cuts to our public hospitals. We know, you don’t call them cuts, you call it restructuring (now that we’re friends perhaps you’ll let us know where this work is being restructured so our members can pursue jobs there).
We thought we would start off with a basic principle – public is better.
Here’s the proof: at the dawn of Medicare in Canada, we spent about the same percentage of our economy on health care as the United States. That percentage has since gone up for both of us, but at a much faster rate in the United States where the majority of health care delivery is in private hands.
In 2010, the most recent year we have comparable international data, the U.S. was spending 17.6 per cent of its economic output on health care – both public and private. In Canada we spent 11.4 per cent. While we could do a lot better, our spending is comparable to countries such as France, Switzerland, Germany and the Netherlands. Incidentally, for all the panic about rising health care costs, Canada also spent 11.4 per cent of its economic output on health care in 2009.