Many of you have told me that healthcare is your most urgent concern in this election. It’s very important to me as well. As you know, providing healthcare is extremely expensive. In fact, the Ontario government spends more on healthcare than on any other program — over $60 billion a year.
Despite this, hospitals are overcrowded and people — young and old — stay sick and don’t get the care they need.
That’s because the Liberals, Conservatives and NDP are focused on the wrong things. They like expensive band-aids. They also seem to forget the social determinants of health including diet, exercise, the environment and income.
Only the Green Party is focused on health promotion, illness prevention and community care for acute and chronic conditions. We get to the root of the problem so we can save time, money and heartbreak.
This is the approach that many medical and public health practitioners are calling for but government funding isn’t set up to support. Our approach is proactive and preventative.
Our plan will cut wait times, empower health professionals to prevent illness and make people happy and healthy. True healthcare.
Let me give you a few examples. With Greens in office, you and your family will have better access to primary care by letting nurse practitioner run clinics. Your parents will be able to stay in their homes longer with deep investments in affordable community care and the creation of a sustainable seniors’ strategy. You will have dental care, mental health services and an expanded drug program through OHIP: so you can use your health card to receive counseling and psychiatric treatment if you need it. We will also have a provincial Lyme Disease plan to fund more research, education and mitigation measures.
Greens will also address the single largest contributor to poor health: low income.
The Canadian Medical Association has said that poverty is the main reason people get sick.
That’s why we’re committed to a basic income guarantee so no one lives below the poverty line. (In case you’re wondering, we also have a plan for how to pay for this, which includes a small 0.5 per cent tax increase on large corporations and a 1% tax increase for the wealthiest in our province). We will also get there by mandating a living wage for workers (while cutting small business payroll tax for employers so they have the cash flow to pay their employees).
Greens will also redirect five per cent of funds from the Ministry of Transportation to prioritize cycling, walking, wheeling and other pedestrian infrastructure to get people moving. We will provide more robust and readily available school nutrition programs to teach our kids even more about healthy eating and how to grow and prepare food. We will turn the corner on obesity and diabetes, which, left to the other parties, continue to grow as major health concerns.
Taken together, Green policies are efficient, evidence based and effective. They will help people in Ontario live happier and healthier lives.
You don’t have to put up with an overburdened and inefficient system. You have the power to make the change we need.
This election, vote Green!