Canada

Vote Compass: Healthcare - The parties' positions

Here are the party positions on four questions about healthcare in the Vote Compass questionnaire, and what was behind those answers.

The academic team behind Vote Compass looked at party policy statements and platform documents from the Greens, Liberals, New Democrats and Progressive Conservatives, and consulted the parties to determine how their policies lined up with the way Vote Compass interprets respondents' answers.

All the parties had the chance to answer the Vote Compass questionnaire for themselves, and were given the opportunity to challenge the assessments before the "final codes" went in. The detailed methodology is available here.

Here are the party positions on four questions about healthcare in the Vote Compass questionnaire, and what was behind those answers.

1) How much of a role should the private sector have in health care?

  • Much less
  • Somewhat less
  • About the same as now
  • Somewhat more
  • Much more
  • Don’t Know

NDP: Strongly disagree

One of the things that unites Canadians is the belief that the size of your wallet shouldn’t affect the quality of the medical care you receive. Hitting patients with user fees or forcing them to look to private healthcare isn’t a solution.

We know that these fees only make it harder for you to get the care you need and, in the long-run, do not save our province money. Short-sighted cuts to services and front-line staff won’t help either, and for the same reasons.

Source: Plan for Affordable Change (June 2011)

Liberal: About the same as now

Ontario Liberals believe in a strong non profit universal health care system. We have focused on reinvesting in public services and have built 18 new public hospitals since coming to office. We repatriated private for-profit MRI clinics into the public system and prohibited private companies from billing patients directly through the Commitment to the Future of Medicare Act.

Ontario Liberals recognise that the private sector does currently play a role in our health system – the private sector is represented in our long-term care sector, independent health facilities, and community labs for instance. We expect all providers to deliver the same level of high quality service to Ontarians without any extra fees or surcharges.

Source: Statement from the Ontario Liberal Party to Vote Compass (August 2011)

PC: Somewhat more

I support choice in the delivery of health care services as long as it is within the existing publicly-funded, universal system. One of Dalton McGuinty's first acts as Premier was to spend millions of taxpayer dollars, not on health care services, but to buy out decades-old private providers of health services.

That is wrong. I believe that the private sector can help to provide access to health services such as MRIs and CT machines as long as these families pay for services with their OHIP card, not their credit card.

Source: Tim Hudak Response to Canadian Taxpayers Federation Questionnaire: Ontario PC Leadership Candidates (June 8, 2009) (June 2009)

Green Party: About the same as now

We are committed to ensuring that our public health care system not only works for today, but is sustainable for the next generation. It’s time to refocus the health care system on programs that will prevent illness in the first place while improving access and quality.

The time to start is now, while we can still affect the outcome. By making front line health care more accessible, we can create efficiencies and better manage costs, while improving outcomes.

Source: Green Party of Ontario Health Care Strategy (May 2011)

2) OHIP should cover fertility treatments for couples that have trouble getting pregnant.

  • Strongly disagree
  • Somewhat disagree
  • Neutral
  • Somewhat agree
  • Strongly agree
  • Don’t Know

NDP: Somewhat agree

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath welcomes the report from Expert Panel on Infertility and Adoption [...] "Women who are struggling to start a family and people who are trying to adopt a child face a tremendous amount of challenges in Ontario.

The government should be supportive and break down those barriers," said Horwath. [...] "Expanding OHIP coverage for in vitro fertilization will save half a billion dollars over ten years to incorporate the Panel’s recommendations," Horwath said.

Source: NDP supports fertility and adoption recommendations (August 2009)

Liberal: Neutral

Our government knows we can do more to help Ontarians take the amazing and brave step of becoming a parent. We asked the Expert Panel on Infertility and Adoption for their recommendations on both adoption and infertility. Their report was very thorough and offered 51 recommendations on infertility. We continue to review the recommendations on IVF funding within the context of our current fiscal situation.

We take the Expert Panel’s recommendations very seriously. We have already started to move forward reforms to the adoption system, making it easier for families to adopt and doing more to help children in foster care be adopted into permanent families. And we are now starting to move forward recommendations related to infertility awareness, diagnosis and treatment.

Source: Statement from the Ontario Liberal Party to Vote Compass (August 2011)

PC: Somewhat agree

But I can’t help but compare that to the Quebec government and Premier Jean Charest, who, during their recent election, promised to maintain Quebec’s leadership in Canada for providing support for couples facing fertility challenges. Just a few months later, the Charest government not only delivered, they exceeded that promise by announcing full funding for three in vitro fertilization cycles.

I’m sure that this is welcome news for those in Quebec who find themselves in this very unfortunate position, both emotionally and otherwise. Certainly, I’ve received letters from many of my constituents who have made this kind of comparison between the recognition and the opportunity provided by the Quebec government and the silence that we have in Ontario on this issue. As the minister mentioned, the government did make a promise in 2007. We certainly await those recommendations becoming public.

But I also want to draw to the attention of the minister that receiving recommendations doesn’t always guarantee, in our experience, that you are actually going to act on them. The important thing for people in Ontario is to be aware of this expert panel, but I, along with them, will be holding the government to account on making some kind of decisions, having received these recommendations. It forces me to ask if this is just another example of gesture politics, or are we really going to see something that supports people in the province?

Source: Legislative Assembly of Ontario, May 11, 2009, Ontario PC MPP, Julia Munro (May 2009)

Green: Somewhat disagree

The Green Party has long been aware that our health system is facing unprecedented challenges. We are committed to ensuring that our public health care system not only works for today, but is sustainable for the next generation.

Our focus for the health care system will be programs that will prevent illness and promote health, while improving access and quality. With leadership and commitment, we can create efficiencies and better manage costs.

Source: Statement from the Green Party of Ontario to Vote Compass (August 2011)

3) There should be user fees for some public health-care services.

  • Strongly disagree
  • Somewhat disagree
  • Neutral
  • Somewhat agree
  • Strongly agree

NDP: Strongly disagree

One of the things that unites Canadians is the belief that the size of your wallet shouldn’t affect the quality of the medical care you receive. Hitting patients with user fees or forcing them to look to private healthcare isn’t a solution. We know that these fees only make it harder for you to get the care you need and, in the long-run, do not save our province money. Short-sighted cuts to services and front-line staff won’t help either, and for the same reasons.

Source: Plan for Affordable Change (June 2011)

Liberal: Strongly disagree

Ontarians support our public health care system. And our government is committed to a strong, publicly-funded health care system that provides Ontarians access to health care based on their needs, not on their ability to pay. We’ve demonstrated our commitment with the passage of the Commitment to the Future of Medicare Act – which Tim Hudak and Andrea Horwath voted against – legislation that closed various loopholes that may result in extra billing and user fees, and enhanced our ability to monitor and enforce such prohibitions.

Source: Statement from the Ontario Liberal Party to Vote Compass (August 2011)

PC: Somewhat agree

For all you pay in taxes, you should receive the highest quality services in the country. We will do what is necessary to deliver these services. In many cases, it's not about more money. It's about rethinking and revitalizng the way our services work.

Source: Ontario PC Issues 'health care' (May 2011)

Green: Somewhat disagree

We are committed to ensuring that our public health care system not only works for today, but is sustainable for the next generation. It’s time to refocus the health care system on programs that will prevent illness in the first place while improving access and quality. The time to start is now, while we can still affect the outcome. By making front line health care more accessible, we can create efficiencies and better manage costs, while improving outcomes.

Source: Green Party of Ontario Health Care Strategy (May 2011)

4) How easy should it be for a woman to get an abortion?

  • Much harder
  • Somewhat harder
  • About the same as now
  • Somewhat easier
  • Much easier
  • Don’t know

NDP: Somewhat easier

Ontario's NDP strongly supports universal access to reproductive services including abortions.

Source: Statement from the Ontario NDP to Vote Compass (August 2011)

Liberal: About the same as now

The Ontario Liberal Party believes in a woman’s right to choose. Reproductive health is an important woman’s issue and women should have access to safe, high quality services. Ultimately, abortion is a decision between a woman and her doctor.

Source: Statement from the Ontario Liberal Party to Vote Compass (August 2011)

PC:  About the same as now

Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak appears to be shying away from his previous anti-abortion position. Hudak said Monday he "may have" signed a petition in that regard, but quickly added he has no intention of re-opening the abortion debate if the Tories win the Oct. 6 Ontario election.

However, the Opposition Leader refused to say if he still opposes abortion. When questioned by reporters, Hudak said only that he would follow Prime Minister Stephen Harper's lead and leave the abortion issue alone.

Source: Hudak won't address abortion beliefs (Canadian Press and CBC) (July 2011)

Green Party: About the same as now

We support the status quo. We support a woman’s right to choose.

Source: Statement from the Green Party of Ontario to Vote Compass (August 2011)

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