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New report calls on Ford government to deviate from for-profit healthcare expansion

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A new report is calling on the Ford government to scrap its expansion of for-profit healthcare in Ontario.

Simon Fraser University researcher Andrew Longhurst brought his new report, titled "At What Cost?: Ontario Hospital Privatization and the Threat to Public Health Care," to Barrie on Thursday, discussing its details and findings at a press conference.

 

The report relied heavily on public information and freedom of information requests to gather data about how Ontario's for-profit healthcare sector operates. It found that private care delivery worsens the public sector's staffing shortages and destabilizes hospitals by pitting facilities against each other for hiring staff.

Evidence also indicates that for-profit delivery of healthcare costs more to taxpayers, citing that public payments to for-profit facilities increased by eight percent between 2017 and 2022, while payments for surgeries increased by 45 percent within that same period.

"There are also discrepancies on how much is actually reported by facilities," Longhurst told CTV News. "There's a 720 percent discrepancy or underreporting of public payments going to these for-profit facilities, and that's largely due to a misleading accounting process in the province where they only report one portion of payments to these for-profit facilities, but the largest amounts of payments go unreported because they're classified differently."

Earlier this spring, the province passed Bill 60, or the Your Health Act, which expanded the types of surgical and diagnostic procedures allowed outside public hospitals.

Longhurst said the government is leading the province on a downward trajectory if it continues to expand private care.

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