Financial accountability office says billions must be cut from healthcare in order to balance the budget

An independent financial advisor says the province has to make some tough decisions when it comes to its biggest expense, healthcare.

Ontario dedicates 41 cents for every dollar it spends to healthcare and according to the financial accountability office, it’s only going to get more expensive with a growing and ageing population, political promises and increased pay for doctors.

“Health sector spending will increase by an average of 4.6% per year over the next four years which represents a $12 billion increase in spending by fiscal year 2022-2023.” Peter Weltman, financial accountability officer.

But with the Ford government vowing to balance the books and not raise taxes, Weltman says Queen’s Park would have to cut $8.6 billion out of healthcare annually for the next four years.

Where will the cuts come from? The report says that out of the $61.3 billion spent on healthcare this year, over $22 billion is on hospitals, the next largest expense is on physicians and practitioners at over $14 billion.

The independent body didn’t include the Ford government’s plan to re-organize healthcare by dissolving local networks in favour of a super agency called Ontario Health. But it did factor in the Premier’s promise to create 15 000 extra long-term care beds and a recently signed contract with doctors that would see spending boosted by $1.5 billion over four years.