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The dangerously high price of privatization

A few days ago, the Ontario Conservative government announced that elderly patients released from hospital beds would be moved to long-term care homes 150 km north and 70 km south, or charged $400 a night. deny Why? Because there is a shortage of beds in our hospitals. Why do we have them? Why, well, partly because people are afraid of those long-term care facilities that are now being forced into. He looked at the death toll during COVID. He heard horror stories. They know what they can get into.

Denied LTCs are often private, for-profit care homes, which have had poor outcomes during COVID. In fact, 58 percent of long-term care homes in Ontario are private institutions, according to the Ontario Long-Term Care Association. That means finding beds in safe, city-run or non-profit homes is hard to come by.

The riskiest LTC facilities are owned by private equity firms and large chains, according to a study by University of Waterloo professor Martin August. These had the highest mortality rates during the COVID-19 pandemic. This makes devastating sense, because as an article on the University of Waterloo’s website said in August, “Financial institutions are not only taking what they can in senior housing, but what they can contribute. This approach – and profit preference – guides financial institutions.

There is nothing wrong with companies making as much profit as possible. It has brought us many inventions over the years. But will you be able to profit by having a high death rate in your LTC facilities, or should you profit by making fancy running shoes?

We have to ask ourselves what are private sector enterprises and what are public sector enterprises. We forget that we have these equally important sectors in our economy for good reasons – one of which is keeping vulnerable people safe. For years we’ve been fed the lie that the public sector is wasteful and intrusive and really bad at managing things. But then we had to send in the military to help deal with the crisis in the privately owned LTCs, and appalling conditions were reported. That is an appalling level of abuse.

Of course, with the United States next door we have the always-terrible alternative to our Canadian healthcare system. With maternal mortality rates of 17 percent — twice as high as in Canada and higher than any European country, including Turkey — and 66.5 percent of personal bankruptcies due to medical bills, according to a 2019 study published in the American Journal of Public Health, the US medical system is indisputable evidence that privatization in this area comes with dangerously high costs. . This is why Canadians wisely chose public health care years ago.

It will take time and considerable resources to unravel the mess that privatization has already brought to our healthcare system. Lack of staff, safe facilities. of faith. However, I have a great idea where we can find some of those resources. According to a Toronto Star article, there’s this highway we don’t need, estimated to cost $8.2 billion to build with another $2.2 billion for the bypass needed to connect it. Or, I guess, we can add those $400 nights.

Noel Allen is the publisher of Wolsock and Wynn in Hamilton

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