The Conservative MPP who represents North Hastings says Premier Doug Ford’s move to allow private clinics to perform some surgeries is a necessary step to ease a backlog.
Hastings-Lennox and Addington’s Ric Bresee says he supports the decision, which allows some services, such as cataract, knee and hip surgeries, to take place outside of public hospitals.
He dismissed critics who say the move, announced last week, is a step towards privatization of health care.
“It’s actually not that big a change,” he says. “For years, we’ve had a mixed public-private system. Most of the medical offices, all of the blood work, most of the imaging, all of these services have been private services, paid for by the OHIP (Ontario Health Insurance Plan) card.
“And that’s what we’re continuing to do. We’re just utilizing some surgical centres that have a focus on particular functions.”
Bresee insists it’s a good decision, saying the number of people waiting for surgeries exceeds 200,000 and the government should use every tool it can to ease pressure.
He stressed that his party is committed to a taxpayer-funded health care system.
“I’m 100 per cent committed to keeping universal health care, which means that we, as a government, will always provide health care to our residents with taxpayer dollars.
“We need to be responsible with our taxpayer dollars, but it should never be that how wealthy you are determines how your health care is delivered.”
After the program was announced, the Ontario NDP said they believe people will be paying out of pocket and facing longer wait times. Bresee stressed patients won’t pay out of pocket and the services will continue to be covered by OHIP.