It didn't take long. As soon as Doug Ford got into office, he sank Ontario's Green Energy Program. And, over the weekend, Heath Minister Christine Elliott nixed the OHIP+ program, which covered prescription costs for all of Ontario's children under 24. Martin Regg Cohn writes:
In future, young people will have to turn first to their parents’ workplace plan — if they have one — that covers some or all of their expenses. Only if they have no coverage, or face additional costs, will they be able to turn to the government as a last resort, months later, for reimbursement that remains indeterminate.
On the campaign trail, Ford spoke often about his plans to cut billions in government waste because “the party with taxpayers’ dollars was over.” But he vowed to protect health-care spending, and young people had every reason to believe that a program supplying essential prescription medicines would survive Ford’s axe.
If anyone is amazed, they shouldn't be. We've seen this movie before. It's part of Ford's pitch that Ontario is "open for business." But Ford's decision simply isn't good business:
You don’t have to love pharmacare, medicare, socialized medicine, or socialism to appreciate the benefits of universal health care with comprehensive coverage. It’s not necessarily a matter of empathy or ideology, but efficiency — something Tories can surely support as much as Liberals or New Democrats.
By analogy, business think tanks have come to embrace pharmacare as a cost-effective way to benefit from a single-payer system that eliminates the waste of private insurance companies duplicating overhead and services (both administrative and diagnostic), while ramping up the scale of government purchasing power to save money on bulk buying, and also selecting the most cost-effective drugs (notably generics) to treat patients. Oh, and pharmacare doesn’t force people with strep throat to first cough up the money at a pharmacy, or check their parents’ benefits plan and wait for (possibly partial) reimbursement, and then hope the government will backstop them later.
South of the border, they have their Great Orange Fool. In Ontario, we now have our own Great Fool.
Image: Huffington Post Canada