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This is the third in a series of releases designed to introduce our new Campaign platform for 2013-14.
Ontario’s healthcare professionals are second to none in the world, but they are burdened under a system that is broken. Past governments have created a centrally planned monopoly that inhibits new ideas and forbids competition while costs continue to balloon.
The Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) is not designed for better, faster service. Rather, it rations needed care, and as a result diminishes people’s quality of life. People are forced to suffer much longer, burdening themselves and their families.
The Ontario Libertarian Party believes that healthcare should be the responsibility of individuals and their families in consultation with their chosen health care professionals. People in need of medical care should have as many options as possible for diagnostics and treatment. To make medical care more affordable, sustainable, and accessible in Ontario, competition and innovation must be introduced at every level.
Libertarians believe that in order to begin to fix the system, three remedies must be applied immediately.
First, change the funding model to hospitals; make each patient that comes to a hospital a cost benefit for that hospital, rather than a drain on resources given to that hospital as it is now. To increase their own funding, hospitals will need to compete for patients by finding innovative ways to offer better care and service.
Second, patients that are able to afford it should be charged a nominal co-payment for each medical visit. This is partial recognition that healthcare is a scarce resource that is over utilized because it appears to be free to patients. For whatever reason, the government actually hides prices from patients so they have no idea what services cost.
Third, legislation should be changed to legalize and allow private medical services in Ontario. This will reduce queues, wait-times, and provide people with more control of their own lives. It is incomprehensible that Ontarians must travel to other countries to obtain timely care, especially when it could be available in their home province and they are willing to pay for it themselves.
In the longer term, Libertarians would remove the government endorsement of healthcare associations, thus allowing the creation of competitive associations of physicians and other healthcare practitioners. This would increase the number of physicians and other practitioners, which would result in more competition, more services, shorter wait times and lower prices. Competing associations would be more likely to ensure that its own members maintain high standards.
Libertarians would also allow independent, free market insurance plans to co-exist with OHIP, so that individuals and families may opt-out of what the government decides should be covered, and choose the level of insurance that best satisfies their needs.
According to the Fraser Institute, healthcare spending in Canada “is among the highest in the developed world, yet Canadians endure some of the longest waits for medical treatment.” Since healthcare is a provincial responsibility, Ontario should be at the forefront of showing the rest of the country how it should be done.
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The Ontario Libertarian Party has been a registered political party since 1975. We advocate free markets, property rights, limited government, and voluntary interactions within communities between individuals and groups. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org