Saturday, May 15, 2021

Ontario care home report shows gov't failure

Ontario’s LTC report exposes the real COVID story — systemic government failure | Financial Post - Terence Corcoran:

May 05, 2021 - "One of the most influential concepts in modern economics is 'market failure.' Here’s a standard textbook definition: Market failure is a 'situation in which a market left on its own fails to allocate resources efficiently.' The concept is used to justify competition laws, trade restrictions, regulations, bureaucratic oversight, even government takeovers. Health care is one of the areas where private sector market failure is said to be endemic; government must fix the failure.

"As COVID-19 rips through the global economy, evidence of market failure is non-existent. What we have instead is ... [s]tate bungling, inefficiency, ineptitude, confusion, bad planning or no planning, are on display in every COVID-stricken nation. The existence and scale of these failures has yet to be fully documented, but a new report from a local commission set up to investigate the province of Ontario’s long-term care (LTC) fiasco opens a small window on a global phenomenon: systemic government failure.

"What happens when a government is left to its own devices is far worse than mere lost efficiency. In the year between March 2020 and April 2021, almost 4,000 elderly residents of Ontario’s long-term care facilities died from COVID-19, the result of decades of government neglect and policy failure — a tragic story documented in brilliant clarity in the final report of the province’s Long-Term Care COVID-19 Commission. Chaired by former Superior Court Justice Frank Marrocco, the commission has delivered a scathing indictment of the province’s decades-long failure to heed provincial, national and international warnings that a COVID-like pandemic was inevitable.... 

"When COVID struck in early 2020 Ontario had no pandemic plan in place, nor did Ottawa. Over the years, through the 2003 SARS viral outbreak, the H1N1 events in 2009 and the Ebola threat of 2014-16, numerous reports and studies warned of the need to prepare for a serious killer pandemic. Nothing happened. By 2017, Ontario’s auditor general warned that the province was 'vulnerable to a large-scale emergency.' In 2019, a WHO-sponsored agency called on nations to prepare for the worst: 'A rapidly spreading, lethal respiratory pathogen pandemic'....

"At the same time, the province had earlier ordered its stockpile of emergency health supplies — amassed after the SARS 2003 outbreak — to be destroyed after it was discovered the supplies had expired. By 2019, millions of masks and other protective gear had not been replaced, leaving Ontario without essential protection equipment....

"The LTC commission also hints at the long-neglected cost-benefit problem. 'The economic cost of the pandemic has been significant, dwarfing the cost of proper pandemic preparation. Ontario’s gross domestic product declined by approximately $45-billion as a result of the pandemic. In addition, the province anticipates approximately $25-billion in additional expenses'.....

"The report is particularly relevant as insight into the limits within Canada’s health-care system. One of the important causes of Ontario’s high LTC death rate was the attempt to maneuver around a chronic problem, lack of hospital beds.... 'The number of acute care hospital beds in Ontario has stayed effectively the same for 20 years, at around 20,000 while the province’s population has grown by three million people. Ontario now has fewer acute care hospital beds per capita than any other province: 1.4 beds for every 1,000 people. That’s on par with Mexico, and half the number in the U.S. To accommodate the influx of COVID cases, the province decided to move hospitalized patients to long-term care facilities.....

"The COVID crisis, first and foremost, has revealed the failings of a government controlled health-care system. The long wait times and lack of hospital beds date back to the 1990s, when hospitals were consolidated in a move to cut costs."

Read more: https://financialpost.com/opinion/terence-corcoran-ontarios-ltc-report-exposes-the-real-covid-story-systemic-government-failure

No comments:

Post a Comment