Ignore More Privatization Hysteria from Special Interests

  Manitobans deserve access to quality health care – not fear and misinformation from union-funded interests. This past week, the province announced the expansion of a partnership with Winnipeg-based Cerebra […]

 

Manitobans deserve access to quality health care – not fear and misinformation from union-funded interests.

This past week, the province announced the expansion of a partnership with Winnipeg-based Cerebra Medical to provide access to at-home sleep disorder testing, diagnosis and treatment planning.

Dr. Peter MacDonald – who chairs the province’s Diagnostic and Surgical Recovery Taskforce steering committee – had stated that the province turned to a private sector partner to address backlogs on the public waiting list.

“This has been going on for years and years and years that we need to utilize both the public system and private assistance to tackle the waitlist and backlog that otherwise you’re not going to be able to serve as Manitobans in a timely fashion,” he said.

The government prioritized pushing through the diagnostic backlog because it is known that undiagnosed sleep disorders are a cause for delays for surgery.

Now, it deserves to be mentioned for the umpteenth time that governments – for decades now – have used the private sector to address backlogs for surgeries and other procedures. This is occurring all over Canada and should be without controversy.  Moreover, these kinds of procedures are billed to the public system, not the patient.

However, none of this seems to ever stop the usual suspects in the public sector health care monopoly from spreading misinformed fears over “credit card” health care.  The fact that 7,680 more Manitobans – over two years – would have access to health care treatment for sleep disorders does not seem to matter to certain cartel interests in the province.

The Manitoba Health Coalition – despite its innocuous sounding name – is the main culprit here. Rather than celebrate new ways to address medical backlogs, they attacked the deal with the private company. Looking at the Manitoba Health Coalition’s website, one sees it is a virtual who’s who of union interests in Manitoba that have a vested interest in keeping out competition in health care. In other words, they put ideology over quality patient care.

The Health Coalition also bills itself as “non-partisan,” but at the top of its list of coalition supporters is the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives – Manitoba. While not directly affiliated with the NDP, that organization has never strayed from the NDP playbook or opposed policies the NDP is pushing at a given time.

In Alberta’s recently concluded election, union-led interests in that province attempted to scare the public over past comments from Premier Danielle Smith about contracting out public hospitals and finding new models of delivery. They presented this as “selling off” public hospitals.  There is nothing in Premier Smith’s plan that was about “selling” hospitals and her proposals were well within the restrictions of the Canada Health Act. But union-led interests in Alberta led the charge spreading fear and misinformation.

Perhaps Manitoba union interests are realizing their days are numbered in terms of misdirecting the public? A Probe Research – Free Press poll conducted in June 2022 found that 74 per cent of Manitobans are in favour of increasing capacity in the health care system through private providers. The Manitoba Health Coalition’s response? They attacked the poll instead of admitting their ideology was losing out in the marketplace of ideas.

It’s time to put patients first and stop union-led fear about innovation and competition in health care.

 

Joseph Quesnel is a Senior Research Associate with the Frontier Centre for Public Policy.

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