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  • Writer's pictureDavid Moscrop

Ontario’s health-care system is in crisis. More privatization isn’t the answer

OPINION: Yes, we need more facilities, and we need specialized facilities that can efficiently process procedures. But why can’t they be not-for-profit?

Minister of Health Sylvia Jones (front) and Premier Doug Ford hold a press conference in Brampton on January 27, 2023. (Nathan Denette/CP)

Doug Ford is expanding the number of private MRI and CT clinics in the province in a bid to decrease long wait times. The move has critics worried about the creeping — perhaps surging — privatization of health care in Ontario and everything that entails.

Before getting to the meat of the concerns, let’s start with the facts. The clinics will be private and for-profit, but the core, publicly listed services they’ll offer will still be paid by public health insurance — so, your health card, not your credit card (as the government is so fond of saying).

There are already seven private MRI/CT clinics in the province, so the call for new private-clinic licence applications is an expansion of privately delivered care, not a new mode of delivery.

The new clinics will be a part of the Ford government’s broader privatized health-care push, which launched last year and includes private surgery delivery and medical-imaging services. Along with scans, the new plan includes boosting the number of facilities that deliver care for hip and knee replacements, cataract surgery, colonoscopies, and endoscopies, common procedures that are backlogged throughout the province.

In 2023, when Ford announced this plan, I argued it was the wrong way to fix what is a genuine and, indeed, deadly care backlog in the province. That was true then, and it’s true now. It’s stunning but not surprising that the government hasn’t taken seriously the many critiques it’s received.

As Ford announced the MRI and CT call for licences, opposition parties cried foul, warning that the next step in the Tory health-care plan would undermine the public system and leave patients paying for care with their credit cards, not their health cards. They warned of upselling for care services and the potential for discrimination toward patients who don’t want to pony up cash for premium service.


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