Beware of “Mixed-Model” Home Care in Manitoba

In September the Pallister Government announced its plans to implement a ‘mixed-model” home care system that smacks of privatization.

In the article The Politics of “Mixed-Model” Home Care, Mary Jean Handle and Christine Kelly, scholars in the Department of Community Services at the University of Manitoba warn that Manitoba’s home care services, described by Manitoba Health as “the oldest comprehensive, province-wide universal [home care] service in Canada” is not immune to the Pallister governments propensity to privatize.

Value Manitoba continues to track the Pallister governments policy moves and its impact on the lives of Manitobans. In doing so, we  link readers to a variety of resources including the analysis of experts like Handle and Kelly.

If you’ve come across analysis that we have missed, send it to Value Manitoba on Face Book.

 

 

“Manitobans Making Choices” The Pallister Government’s Healthcare Survey

A Value Manitoba volunteer recently checked out Brian Pallister’s healthcare survey, hoping to tell the government why implementing a tax on healthcare is potentially a regressive policy move. He quickly learned that the survey is not only flawed, but also misleading.

We think he did a great job noting the problems with the survey so we’ve included his comments in the marked document below.  If you would like to complete the survey yourself, you can find the Manitoba Making Choices survey here.

Health survey MB gov premiums marked

 

Brian Pallister’s Healthcare Tax

There is so much wrong with Brian Pallister’s plan to introduce a healthcare “premium” that its hard to know where to begin.

It introduces a potentially regressive and significant tax by a government that has consistently criticized the previous government for increasing the PST by 1%.  The Pallister government has promised to reverse that increase before the end of its mandate yet the Premier now tells us he plans to introduce a tax that will be far more costly for Manitobans.

If Premier Pallister thinks that Manitobans won’t do the math to understand how the cost of a 1% sales tax compares with a healthcare tax, and what it will mean for their families, he’s clearly had too much Costa Rica sunshine.

We know that the Pallister government will lose approximately $300 million by reducing the PST by 1%. We don’t yet know what level of premiums different households will pay, however the total revenue generated will need to be large enough to offset the loss in PST revenue and whatever administrative costs are involved.  Our guess is that Pallister will want to maximize revenue from the premium, so looking to the levels in other jurisdictions is a good place to start.

This article in the Winnipeg Free Press shows how a 1% increase compares with the likely cost of healthcare premiums. There is…well…no comparison. For example, the additional 1% sales tax paid by a family of four earning $60,0000 is around $196.00 per year – for the entire household. An adult in British Columbia earning a net income of $42,000 pays a $900 premium annually. So a family of four with two parents pays $1800 per year.

This oped in the Winnipeg Free Press describes in more detail the regressive nature of healthcare premiums in Ontario and B.C. and why we should be concerned about going down this path in Manitoba.

Is a healthcare premium necessary?

Brian Pallister tells us the premium is necessary to pay for spiralling healthcare costs.  This article in the Winnipeg Sun shows us that spending on healthcare has not increased drastically as Brian Pallister says it has.  Spending has remained stable relative to GDP for the past 15 years.

It is also notable that the Premier, who has promised Manitobans a vote on major tax increases, has said that introducing a healthcare premium does not require a referendum because it isn’t an income or sales tax (how convenient).

What he has done instead is invite Manitobans to complete this online survey. Check it out and tell Premier Pallister what you think.  But first check out our followup post on this issue. Value Manitoba lays out the problems with “Manitoban’s Making Choices” survey.

Update: A recent poll by Probe Research shows that Manitobans are not buying it.  The poll shows that 70% of respondents are opposed to a health care tax.

 

 

Where’s the Value in Brian Pallister’s HealthCare Plan?

Despite promises to maintain frontline services, the Pallister government has managed to make healthcare accessible to fewer and fewer Manitobans.  From closures to emergency rooms and urgent care clinics in low income neighbourhoods, to the elimination of in-hospital physiotherapy and occupational therapy and the closure of the Victoria Hospital Mature Women’s Centre, it’s near impossible to imagine where the value is in the Pallister governments health care plan.  

While it’s a challenge to keep track of the relentless attack,Value Manitoba will attempt to do just that.  The following is a list of changes and cuts we’ve identified to date; we’re not offering any deeper analysis here although we do provide links to various media articles, opinion pieces to provide context. No doubt as time marches on, there will be much more to say about how these cuts are affecting Manitobans, and we will endeavour to weigh in as we learn more.

We will update the list as more changes/cuts are announced. Here is what we have so far.  

September 2016

November  2016

December  2016:

January 2017:

  •  The Health Minister announces that the St. Boniface QuickCare Clinic on St. Mary’s Road will close.
  • Manitoba Home Care Program name change raises concerns about privatization

February 2017:

  •   Pallister cancels over (what they claim) is $1 billion in health care infrastructure projects.
  •   Cancelled projects include:
    • A new facility for CancerCare Manitoba ($300M);
    • A personal care home in Lac Du Bonnet (est. $32M) and a complete turn around on his campaign promise to provide 1200 new personal care beds for Manitoba’s aging population;
    • St. Vital primary care ACCESS clinic ($4.7M);
    • The Pas primary care clinic ($3.5M);
    • A new facility for Pan Am Clinic;
    • Concordia Wellness Centre; and
    • An international centre for dignity and palliative care.

March 2017:

April 2017:

May 2017:

June 2017:

July  2017:

August 2017:

Position deletion letters to be sent to 500 nurses.  Will they be moved to “new jobs” as promised? And what will those jobs look like?

September 2017:

Premier Pallister considers health care premium

Health Sciences Centre restructures – eliminates healthcare aides and support staff positions

October 2017:

Misericordia Hospital closes 

Brian Pallister promises no health care premium in “current term”

November 2017:

Funding to Personal Care Homes cut

Province freezes funding to City for Ambulance services