Saturday, January 12, 2008

Liberals ignore call for health-monopoly investigation

To the attention of St. Catharines Liberal MPP Jim Bradley:

A Toronto Star story, “McGuinty seeks more cash” (Jan. 11, 2008) illustrates that even when sitting on a $2.5 billion surplus, Ontario’s Liberals always seem to demand more cash.

Interestingly, Premier Dalton McGuinty politicizes his demands for federal handouts saying: “Either the need is urgent or it is not…If it’s urgent, then you take all steps to ensure that the money flows unconditionally.”

Yet, when the Niagara Health System said it needed more money (St. Catharines Standard, Dec.7, 2007), Ontario Health Minister George Smitherman all but accused the NHS of being profligate spenders who must live within their means. Why is this kind of Liberal health-care duplicity being applied to the NHS, which a Nov.2007 CIHI report revealed as having the third-worst mortality rate in Canada?

Is the health-care "need" not "urgent" in Niagara?

How many more patients must die before Ontario's Liberals finally take the situation in Niagara seriously?

If McGuinty believes federal funding should flow “unconditionally” to his Liberals, why aren't his Liberals “unconditionally” flowing funds to the NHS?

The NHS made it clear that it needs more money, yet did Smitherman “take all steps to ensure that the money flows unconditionally” to the NHS?

Smitherman lectured: "I do think the Niagara Health System likes to rely a little bit too much on the idea that it's all about money, and I think that's a fallacy. I think (that argument) can become a little too relied upon. What it kind of suggests is the only thing that's the answer to health-care woes is a fiscal free-for-all, spend whatever you want." (St. Catharines Standard, Dec. 7, 2007)

Smitherman does not specify where this alleged health care “fiscal free-for-all” is occurring in the NHS, nor does Smitherman specify or recommend exactly which programs the NHS should spend less on. The fact is: Patients are dying in the NHS at a rate 35% higher than the national average, yet Ontario’s health minister stonewalls and blames the institution, providing absolutely no answers himself.

Ontario’s health care system is a monopoly legislated by the Liberals whereby it is illegal for patients to pay for their care. Smitherman claims the NHS "likes to rely"' on money, disingenuously ignoring the fact that the NHS is forced "to rely" solely on his ministry's funding allocations. Smitherman has placed conditions on a system which his own Liberals have unconditionally rendered incapable of pursuing alternative options.

This hypocritical catch-22 demonstrates the severity of Liberal health-care demagoguery in Ontario, if not outright state health-care terrorism. What alternatives are available to the health system's individual institutions, let alone to the individual patients within, who are trapped like hostages in this no-choice Liberal labyrinthe?

I wrote the following letter to the editor, “Ombudsman should target health care next”, which appeared in the St. Catharines Standard, Jan.12, 2008:

“The Niagara Health System was recently the focus of two issues.

First, a report found the NHS to have abnormally high patient death rates.

Second, the Liberals announced they are considering a “review” of the NHS – not, as one would expect, of its high death rates, but about its organization structure.

St. Catharines Liberal MPP Jim Bradley called this potential organizational review “routine stuff”, but astoundingly, said nothing of his health monopoly’s poor performance. The Liberals clearly pretended there was no link.

Bradley should have immediately called for an investigation to examine the abnormally high patient mortality rates. It was disingenuous and irresponsibly partisan of him to not have done so.

Remember in June 2001, when Bradley, in opposition, presented a petition in the legislature blustering mightily that he wants to ensure government revenues fund health services, not tax-cuts? Yet this past December, Bradley’s governing Liberals announced $1.1 billion in tax cuts. Will hypocrite Jim Bradley demand that his own government fund health care, not tax cuts today?

The NHS, in Bradley’s own riding, said “we need to have more money.” Yet, Bradley’s Liberals have not only raked in billions with their hated health tax, they’re also sitting on a $2.5 billion surplus. So where’s the health-tax money gone? How much longer will this Liberal health-care duplicity continue?

In December, the Ontario auditor uncovered a host of disturbing health-care problems – system wide. There is now a health-care charter challenge before the Ontario court. Ontarians have gone to the United States for care, because our monopoly couldn’t provide it here.
Given the above Liberal prevarication, and pursuant to the auditor’s recent findings, I make a public plea for Ontario’s ombudsman to immediately launch a sweeping investigation of our entire monopoly health-system.”

Mr. Bradley, I look forward to your comment or response to the issues raised in this letter, or any of my previous letters to which you have not bothered to respond.

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