Opinion Research reveals Ontarians largely unaware of dramatically
rising healthcare costs
TORONTO, Feb. 16 /CNW/ - An "honest broker" is needed to represent the
views of the public in any discussion about changes to the healthcare
system according to the participants of the Healthcare of Ontario
Pension Plan's (HOOPP) Think Tank, held in Toronto.
HOOPP invited 40 key healthcare stakeholders to participate in a recent
think tank; the group included union leaders, government
representatives, and healthcare providers. Presentations were made by
public researcher David Herle and economist Don Drummond.
"HOOPP represents more than 250,000 working and retired healthcare
workers in Ontario," says John Crocker, HOOPP President & CEO. "For
that reason, we are taking an active role in the discussion about
healthcare's future. We believe three things - that Ontarians benefit
tremendously from our universal healthcare system, that the views of
the public need to be a critical input in healthcare policy making, and
that any reforms need to happen through societal consensus, rather than
Think Tank attendees learned that the public is generally unaware of the
problems facing the healthcare sector with respect to funding. Other
Few Ontarians believe that government spends too much on healthcare and
even fewer think it should reduce its spending on healthcare.
Providing healthcare is seen as the most important thing government
does, and Ontarians want it privileged above other spending
priorities. If government has to cut spending, they want healthcare
protected from those cuts as much as possible and more so than any
other spending envelope. If government has extra money to invest,
Ontarians want the healthcare system to have the first call on those
Ontarians are open to systemic reforms to the system that preserve
quality at lower cost, but not to lower cost that undercuts quality.
There is an openness to a range of ideas from how administration of the
system is organized to how doctors are compensated, and even another
crack at electronic records.
Shifting the focus of healthcare delivery from hospitals to community
settings is very popular with the people of Ontario, assuming that the
quality of care in the community is equal to what it would be in the
hospital. The emerging Community Health Clinics and Family Health
Teams are seen as a very positive evolution in the way healthcare is
delivered. But that is contingent upon being able to rely on equal
quality, including equally experienced and qualified nurses and other
healthcare professionals. To be positioned to have quality healthcare
practitioners in every setting, they need access to benefits that
support their mobility throughout the system and throughout their
The Communiqué, which has been shared with the Minister of Health and
Long-Term Care is a summary of the solutions generated during the Think
Tank and calls for the creation of an "honest broker" to help
facilitate a dialogue around healthcare, recommendations for further
healthcare integration, and the public opinion research findings.
The Communiqué recommends that this "honest broker" group be formed by
the government to be a champion for the system, and to lead the
dialogue between citizens and the government to build awareness of
problems and solutions. This group would ideally evolve into a
permanent healthcare research institute - a voice for all who are
served by, or serve, the healthcare sector.
Other immediate steps government could take include more integration
between the hospital-delivered and community-delivered care, finding
efficiencies within administration, and the creation of more long-term
The full text of the Communiqué can be found here: http://www.hoopp.com/symposium/docs/deficitdriven/hoopp_thinktank_communique.pdf
The research from Gandalf can be found here:
About the Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan
Created in 1960, the Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP) is the
pension plan of choice for Ontario's hospital and community-based
healthcare sector with over 340 participating employers and more than
250,000 plan members and retirees. HOOPP invests the assets of its
$31 billion Fund, administers the Plan and pays more than $1 billion
per year in pension benefits. The HOOPP defined benefit plan is a
formula based benefit that provides security and peace of mind to
Ontario's healthcare workforce.
HOOPP was named one of Canada's Top Most Admired Corporate Cultures in
HOOPP is governed by a Board of Trustees with representation from the
Ontario Hospital Association (OHA) and four unions: the Ontario Nurses'
Association (ONA), the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), the
Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU), and the Service
Employees International Union (SEIU). The unique governance model
provides representation from both employers and unions in support of
the long-term interests of the Plan.
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