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  • Writer's pictureRichard Coffin

Rallying against privatizing health care

Thursday, May. 30th, 2024

(Photo by MyNorthBayNow.com staff)

Protests against the privatization of health care are being held in several communities across the province, including North Bay.


The North Bay Health Coalition event is taking place at noon outside of MPP Vic Fedeli’s office on Main Street East. 


What’s billed as a massive rally is taking place in Toronto with protests in other cities too, including the Soo, Ottawa and Thunder Bay.  


The group is demanding a moratorium on the closure of public hospitals and a stop to privatization of health care. 


“The list of health care services that the Ford government is trying to privatize is growing,” reads a release from the Ontario Health Coalition. “With it, patients are being charged hundreds or even thousands of dollars in illegal user fees for access to needed medical care. Such user charges and extra billing for patients have been banned in Canada for decades, but the Ford government is doing nothing to stop the private clinics from flagrant violations of our public Medicare laws.”


The coalition says over the last year, more than a billion dollars in public funding has gone to private for-profit clinics and for-profit staffing agencies to privatize what have been public non-profit services.

 

Bill 60, which expanded for-profit clinics and hospitals to take on surgeries and diagnostic procedures typically done at public hospitals received royal assent a year ago.


MPP Vic Fedeli released the following statement in regards to the rally:


Facts matter and while the Ontario Health Coalition, an out-of-touch, NDP-backed special interest group has spent the last decade accomplishing nothing while standing ideologically opposed to innovation taking place in the health care system, our government is taking bold action to connect more people to the care they need, when they need it.


Under the leadership of Premier Ford, our government has made record investments in our publicly funded healthcare system. Since 2018, we have increased the healthcare budget by over 31% billion dollars, investing over $85 billion into the system this year alone, this includes a 4% increase to the hospital sector and, is the total healthcare budget of almost every other province and territory combined (Canadian Institute of Healthcare Information).


Through our government’s Your Health plan, we are continuing to take action to build on the progress we have achieved including having a record-breaking year in 2023, adding 17,000 new nurses and 2,400 new physicians to our healthcare workforce, achieving the shortest wait times for surgeries in Canada, eliminating a 180,000 person PAP test backlog while returning the surgical backlog to pre-pandemic levels and making historic investments in pediatric and primary care. This is on top of the $1 billion investment we have made through the Surgical Recovery Fund to allow hospitals to utilize operating rooms on weekends and weekdays to complete even more surgeries.



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