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Health Care in Ontario’s Debate

The leader’s debate in ON was disappointing for health care. While Bilal Vakani’s question on health care was well worded and pointed out an important problem in Ontario’s health care system, none of the leaders were brave enough to answer it.

For those of you shaking your head at the above statement, I am including Andrea Horwath. While she said she was addressing Vakani’s question on the role of the private sector in health care, her answer was: “I’m 100 per cent behind a public health care system”. This statement is used by all political leaders. It depends on what your definition of a public health care system is. She spoke several times about CEO salaries and not wanting to “build in more profit”, but that isn’t really promising to decrease the role that the private sector is playing. Nor is it a promise to hold the line on how many private players are involved. She did criticise McGuinty for privatizing the delivery of home care services, but she didn’t promise if elected to return those services to a public delivery model.

McGuinty, was the first and only to talk about 2014. But instead of telling us what he would negotiate for, he used a ‘who do you want to see at the table with Harper’ tactic instead. Although he mentioned “innovation within the public system”, he didn’t go any further with the role of the private sector in health care delivery. He certainly didn’t talk about the several P3 hospitals that have been built since his time in office. He only told Ontarians that 18 new hospitals had been built.

Hudak like Horwath hit some of the key messaging on long term care and home care, but like the others, refused to talk about the delivery of these services and the role of the private sector in health care overall. He did throw out his $6.1 billion investment in health care and promised to put money into “patient care”, but other than some long term care beds, he didn’t tell us what exactly he was doing with that $6.1 billion dollars.

Granted, 15 minutes to share amongst three politicians, each trying to win votes with their messaging box isn’t going to give us much in-depth conversation, however, one would hope that they’d at least give us one answer instead of just a lot of talk.

To see the debate yourself, just click here.