Is the Ontario Government Doing Enough for Health Care?

While the Ontario government has provided a health care plan for its citizens for many years now, there is still debate over whether or not they are doing enough for health care overall, particularly in comparison to the rest of the country. In fact, the auditor general of Ontario, Jim McCarter, released a report this Monday that indicates there are actually a wealth of problems in the current Ontario health care system, from crumbling colleges to inaccurate property tax assessments to unnecessary stays in the hospital.McCarter focused much of his assessment on the state of health care in Ontario, and he discovered that at least 50,000 patients in Ontario had stayed in hospitals for longer than they needed to in the year 2009 because there were not nearly enough home care services and long term care beds. McCarter indicated that this problem is only likely to keep growing as people in Ontario inevitably become older.McCarter stated that 13 per cent of the population of Ontario is made up of people who are 65 years of age or older, but almost 60 percent of the days patients spend in hospitals in Ontario are consumed by people over the age of 65. Furthermore, in the next two decades, there are expected to be twice as many seniors in the Ontario area as there are today.These results suggest the Ontario government is not doing nearly enough to provide for the health care of its citizens. Last year, about half of the patients in Ontario hospitals who could have been released from those hospitals to receive additional care at home were required to stay for at least six more days, on average, in hospitals, before they became eligible to receive health services.Wait times within hospitals were found to be another area of concern in Ontario health care. The assessment by McCarter found that there are still a lot of people who are receiving delayed service and having to suffer through extended waiting times in emergency rooms in Ontario hospitals because of the trouble the hospitals have in freeing up beds of patients still in the hospital.In fact, some people who had serious conditions that required emergency care and assistance still had to wait for up to 12 hours before they could receive proper medical care. The goal in such situations is to have patients wait no longer than 8 hours, but they ended up having to wait 50 per cent longer in some cases. The province of Ontario has already spent in excess of $200 million between 2008 and 2010 in their efforts to improve the wait times in emergency rooms.With such deficits in the condition of Ontario health care, it is no surprise that people have begun to look into private health insurance options such as an individual Ontario health insurance plan. It simply is not right for people to have to spend extra time in hospitals and away from their families due to bureaucracy on the part of the Ontario government. A change is clearly needed, but it is unclear as to how long it will take before this change is put into place.

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