Order of priorities - Patients first

by Francois Pan on May 3, 2015 - 7:42am

The original news article Ontario’s doctors say budget puts the health-care system at risk was written by an anonymous writer and published on the website of Canada Newswire on the 6th of February 2015.

The president of the Ontario Medical Association Dr. Ved Tandan denounces that the current government’s budget is threatening the proper functioning of the health-care system. The years –long underfunding of the health facilities has not only compromised the well-being of the patients but also increased the already burdensome pressure on the doctors. Statistically speaking, more than 900,000 people in Ontario do not have family doctors and this number is adding up with the population continues to grow and age. However, this alarming situation has not been proper dealt with since the new provincial budget didn’t increase any investment in health-care but trimmed off 1.5 billion from medical services. In response to Wynne’s government’s cut in expense, The Ontario Medical Association insisted that patients remain the top priority and offered to the government a two year suspension of the physician fees in exchange of a more reasonable health-care budget for the growing and aging population. The discussion between the government and the OMA remains an unsettled issue in April 2015.

Ontario’s Medical Association is certainly an example of old power attempts to use new power. Although OMA does represent a great number of voices with 39000 registered members, the nature of the association is quite exclusive and accepts only practicing physicians, residents and medical students. However, in this recent negotiation with Wynne’s government, OMA calls for the help of new power when it uses various media platforms to urge the public to exert pressure on the government‘s cut in budget. This is an interesting shift of power model since usually the debate between the Ontario government and the OMA takes place uniquely between the two parties. The involvement of the general public in this debate can be interpreted as the growing role of new power in the society.

Comments

First off allow me to say that you should be proud of the work you did as this was very well written article. You managed to find reliable sources and summarize them in such a way that all crucial facts were able to be presented to the reader in a clear and concise manner without rambling on or any unnecessary repetition. It is very unfortunate that the Ontario Medical association is indeed having their budget cut, especially since the average age of the population is aging and the need for medical assistance will continue to grow in demand. It would appear as though you are viewing this moral dilemma from a utilitarian standpoint which focuses on creating the most amount of pleasure for the most amount of people, or in some instances minimizing the pain for the most of people Marriam- Webster). Aside from protesting and trying to get the government to reallocate the money that was removed from the medical budget back a few potential solutions could be; to convince everyone to start paying slightly higher taxes and all of that money go towards the OMA, or to have politicians review the budgets of other less important expenses and allocate a portion of those to the medical budget instead.
Works Cited
Utilitarianism." Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 3 May 2015.
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This post touches upon a very important and very timely topic facing many societies, namely the effect of budgetary pressures on government services, and in particular health services. It sparks an important debate about the priorities that society demands of its government and how various parties can influence government to act on their behalf. Everyone knows that governments face the same dilemma. They are under pressure to either reduce expenses, or be forced to raise taxes. Raising taxes will be unpopular among voters, so politicians are looking at ways to reduce spending. Theoretically, governments should support a utilitarian approach to the dilemma. They should ensure the greatest good for the greatest number of people, which is what Utilitarianism preaches. Ontario’s government (like Quebec’s) believes that by reducing spending in health, education and other services, they can lessen the burden on both today’s taxpayers as well as tomorrow’s generations of taxpayers. Everyone will benefit from this. By contrast, the Ontario Medical Association favours an approach based on ethical rationalism. It insists that the health system should be preserved and even improved at all costs. They believe that it is morally necessary to help patients, regardless of the ultimate costs to taxpayers. In the OMA’s view, the positive benefit of preserving the health budget outweighs the negative impact of increased taxation. The OMA seeks to pressure the government by convincing the general public to support its argument. If they are successful, then the government will be forced to listen to the public, who are the same taxpayers that they are trying to offer the greatest common good to. One way to resolve this dilemma is to involve taxpayers in a process which determines which expenses should be cut first. Ideally they would only agree to cut heath expenses as a last resort, because it is so important to them. Either way, this topic highlights the contrasts in moral systems that can be adopted to solve a dilemma.

First, thank you for bringing such an important issue to light. While most people are in fact aware that our health care system is problematic, mostly due to the long waiting lines in hospitals, we tend to forget the extent of the problem. People tend to treat budgetary issues in an utilitarian viewpoint, where money should be allocated to where the largest amount of people would be benefited. However, access to health care should be viewed in a deontological manner as it is one of the most basic rights of citizens. The health and lives of people should not be used as a means to an end, in this case people's access to health care should not be jeopardized simply to reduce financial strain in the province or to reduce taxes. Therefore the government of Ontario should review its budget and make sure that their health care system has enough funding to function properly, even if that means having less money for other less important programs. I do agree with your suggestion that a larger part of the population should be involved into the solving of this problem as it affects us all. Moreover if more people are aware of the issue and they will be more accepting of any possible increase in taxes or decrease in other services resulting from the proper funding of health care.

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