Ontario ready for health-care system overhaul: report
Ontarians are getting anxious about the current state of the province's health-care system and overwhelmingly believe the need for sweeping changes in the system, according to a new report released today by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC).
In its report, "Transformation through Value and Innovation: Revitalizing Health Care in Ontario," the OCC has outlined opportunities to "bring real and meaningful change to Ontario's health-care system."
According to a poll released within the report, 77 per cent of Ontarians are concerned about the sustainability of their health-care system, and 80 per cent agree with the statement that, "Ontario's health-care system will need to undergo broad reform in order to meet the challenges of changing demographics."
The report included results from a survey of 1,004 Ontarians conducted on behalf of the OCC by Leger, between February 22 and 25, 2016. The margin of error for this sample is 3.1 per cent, 19 times out of 20.
"Our single-payer health-care system has long been a source of pride to Ontarians, as it should be," said Allan O'Dette, president & CEO of the OCC. "But due to demographic shifts and economic challenges, funding that system is becoming an increasing source of concern. Health spending in Ontario represents almost half the provincial budget and as our population ages, it is projected that health-care costs to government, individuals and employers will grow well beyond sustainable levels."
The report marks the beginning of the OCC's year-long Health Transformation Initiative, which will convene expert stakeholders and industry leaders to develop a blueprint for the future of sustainable health care in Ontario ¬– including an opportunity for a partnership with the private sector within the single-payer model.
While three quarters of Ontarians believe that the provincial health-care system delivers better outcomes than those of comparable jurisdictions, international health research firm The Commonwealth Fund recently ranked Canada's health system 10th out of 11 industrialized nations.
"Ontario is ready for health transformation," said O'Dette. "Canadians have a genuine fear of what they perceive as 'American-style' health care, but this ignores both the considerable share of health coverage already delivered by the private sector as well as the integral role of industry in other countries with a single-payer model, like the UK and Australia.
"When it comes to health care, we must work collaboratively across industry sectors and institutions in order to build a system that is sustainable for generations to come."
This report comes at a time when system change is being considered, as the federal and provincial governments are on the cusp of renegotiating the health accords. The Ontario government has also indicated its new priorities for an innovative, patient-first system, including the creation of the Office of the Chief Health Innovation Strategist and naming the province's first Patient Advocate.
Change is both welcome and necessary, as Ontario's population is aging rapidly and increasingly suffering from chronic illnesses, while seeking new and costly medical innovations. This is contributing to unsustainable growth in government health costs that are being managed by artificially limiting spending, rather than increasing efficiency or value. Meanwhile, access to care is not uniform across geographic or population needs. On top of this, Ontario's health and life sciences sector is encumbered by a lack of capital and too few opportunities to bring their innovations to market in their own province.
In response to this, the OCC will release a series of reports in 2016 which will outline recommendation on Ontario can improve health outcomes, address fiscal challenges, and leverage untapped economic opportunity in the health sector.
View the full OCC report here.
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