Ontario: More than 150,000 hospital and health care staff and patient advocates to join in Action Day to warn against health care privatization
Across Ontario in more than one hundred hospitals and health care facilities, staff and patient advocates are staging an “Health Action Day” today, Tuesday April 23.
In an unprecedented show of unity, more than 150,000 health professionals and workers and tens of thousands of patient advocates will wear a sticker that says “Stop Health Privatization” and will distribute leaflets warning about the Ford government’s radical health care restructuring plans.
The Ontario Health Coalition has vowed to fight to protect local health care services from cuts, privatization, and mergers.
The province's right wing Conservative government led by Doug Ford, which was elected last year, has given itself unprecedented powers to order the privatization of virtually all health care services and leaked documents show that plans are underway to begin privatization of a range of health care services.
They have rammed a radical health restructuring law through the Legislature in an unprecedented undemocratic process, refusing to hear from thousands who applied for hearings and sent in submissions.
All amendments prohibiting privatization were voted down by the Conservatives.
The new law gives Ontario's Minister of Health and the government’s appointees in the new “Super Agency” the ability to force privatization of services as well as to merge, transfer services from town to town and from provider to provider, and close down services including public hospitals, long-term care, home care, community care, mental health, primary care, palliative care, cancer care, eHealth, air ambulance, laboratories and others.
In addition, the list of health care cuts under the Ford government is mounting:
● Cut OHIP+ (Ontario Health Insurance Plan Plus) forcing families with sick children to pay deductibles and co-payments. (June 2018)
● Cut planned mental health funding by more than $330 million. (July 2018)
● Cancelled all new planned overdose prevention sites. (Autumn 2018)
● Let surge funding for hospitals run out. Surge beds are now closed without replacement, despite overcrowding crisis [Ontario already has the lowest level of beds of any comparable OECD country].
● Cut and restructured autism funding. (Winter 2018/19)
● Set health care funding at less than the rate of inflation and population growth, let alone aging. This means service levels cannot keep up with population need and will force cuts/privatization. (2019 Budget)
● Set public hospital funding at less than the rate of inflation alone. This means real dollar (inflation adjusted dollar) funding cuts and serious service cuts/privatization. (2019 Budget)
● Cut provincial public health funding by 27% and cut public health units from 35 to 10. (2019 Budget)
● Introduced Bill 74 which gives sweeping new powers to the Minister and Super Agency to force privatization and restructuring of the entire health system. (February/March 2019)
● Plan to cut and restructure ambulance services, down from 59 to 10. (April 2019)
● Plan to cut half a billion dollars in OHIP services. (April 2019)
The Health Coalition is mobilizing for a massive Health Care rally outside the Ontario Legislature next week on Tuesday April 30 at noon.
The rally is expected to draw thousands concerned about OHIP cuts, hospital cuts, privatization, mergers and centralization of health care services.
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