Concerns: Privatization of Long-term Care
The privatization of health care, in particular long-term care is a serious concern in this election especially in the context of the pandemic. Long-term care cannot be a venue for private profit. It must be integrated into the health-care system and provided as a right for those who require it. The older generation has made their contribution to society and society must take care of them in their later years.
On May 5, the Ontario Health Coalition (OHC) drew attention to the plans of the Conservative government of Doug Ford to further privatize health care, particularly in the area of long-term care. It points out that through the inaction of the Ford government more than 4,500 seniors died during the COVID-19 pandemic — many from neglect, dehydration, abuse and other avoidable circumstances, yet no one has been held accountable. Not a single operating license has been revoked.
The OHC points out that the majority of those who died were in private long-term care facilities which are owned by private monopolies and real-estate speculators. Far from punishing those responsible for the crisis conditions that caused so many seniors’ deaths, the Ford government rewarded them by extending their operating licences for another 30 years and protecting them by making changes to the Long-Term Care Homes Act which makes it almost impossible to hold the owners legally responsible for their criminal neglect.
The OHC points out that the Doug Ford Conservatives are in the process of allocating 18,000 new long-term care beds to private operators under 30-year contracts. The licences for another 31,000 long-term care beds which need refurbishing expire in July 2025. The public is paying for the refurbishing of those beds, many operated by the monopolies. In other words, seniors’ care is one big pay-the-rich scheme in which hundreds of millions of public funds are handed over to private interests whose bottom line has been thriving because of it.