Friday, May 25, 2007

John Tory's tricky math

It's music to my ears to hear the Ontario Grits starting to beat up on John Tory's health care plans (now that Tory has finally released some.)

It defies basic mathematics how a future Tory government could cut the health care levy ($2.6 billion per year) and then turn around and increase health spending by $8.5 billion, plus find $1.5 billion in savings.

Oh yes, those infamous savings the Tories always say they can find. Ontarians remember clearly what cutting "waste" from Ontario's health care system meant under Mike Harris.

Having worked briefly for the Liberal government at Queen's Park, I understood fully that health care remains underfunded in Ontario, even after the bold decision by McGuinty to bring in the so-called health care levy.

I guess Tory is recognizing that by promising to increase health spending. But how will he pay for it? This plan, on the surface, simply does not sound credible.

The Grits do have a great record in managing the health care system. The health care levy was necessary partly due to the institutionalized deficit the Tories created after years of tax cuts. The government was merely spending way more on basic services than it was bringing in. We had a huge problem.

The Ontario Liberals have fixed that mess and even balanced the budget. Public services are improving. Things aren't perfect, but it's very hard to decipher how health care could be anything but worse under John Tory.

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