Who’s talking nonsense: Week 2

By Dian Cohen
Who’s talking nonsense: Week 2
(Photo : Dian Cohen)

Six hundred words is not enough for any but the parties already in the National Assembly…
Kudos for CAQ representatives – Health Minister Christian Dubé said the party won’t promise something that is “not possible”, namely that all Quebecers will have a family doctor. We’ve gone from 400,000 Quebecers without a family doctor in 2018 to more than a million as of June 2022. It’s a sad state when we give thumbs up for botching the file and admitting it, but that’s where we are today. The Premier said he’d kick in $400 million to recruit 660 doctors and 5,000 health professionals. Is the $400 million for advertisements? Signing bonuses? Salaries? Details please – where will the recruits come from? AND he’s going to cut income taxes. Where will the $400 million come from?
Interestingly, while failing at a doctor for every Quebecer, the CAQ is now promising a subsidized day care place for every Quebec toddler. Quebecers, like all developed countries, are having fewer and fewer children. When the population ages out of child-bearing range, this could be a promise kept.
Liberal leader Dominique Anglade is still promising a family doctor in every pot – maybe she hasn’t been reading the inside scoop — the Family Doctor Finder website has been telling us all year that if you’re on the waiting list you may never get off.
Conservative Party of Quebec Leader Éric Duhaime wants to enlist the doctors who practice outside the public system. How could that possibly work? They work outside the system so they can be their own bosses, charge whatever their patients will pay and work the hours they choose. What will attract them to the public system with its lower fees, mandatory work and high bureaucracy? He also says his government will train 1,000 doctors a year and hire 1,000 nurse-practitioners. Last year all of Quebec graduated fewer than 400 doctors. In all of Quebec, there are 842 N-Ps. Eight graduated in this region this year. The nurses’ association says they are losing their professionals to the private sector because of the stress of working in the public sector. We really need some answers. Or we need to stop listening.
Moving on. Québec solidaire’s Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois doesn’t accept that many seniors would rather die than end up in assisted living. He clearly has not been reading the surveys. Or the reports about life in long-term care. I did hear that he will offer universal dental care. No statement of cost.
Parti Québécois leader Paul St-Pierre Plamondon seems to agree about seniors and assisted living facilities. He said he wouldn’t finish the 46 senior homes the CAQ has under construction. What would he do? It’s our money he’s willing to waste not finishing what’s already been started. What would he do? How much will it cost me?
Moving on to homecare. Québec solidaire promised to pay caregivers – I assume these are family members, since professional caregivers in the private sector are reasonably paid. They didn’t say – only that the “allowance” would be worth up to $15,000 per year. Frankly, that is an allowance, not a living wage. They also promised to double home-care services offered by the province. Right now, only about 15% of homecare costs are borne by the province. The rest is paid out-of-pocket. So doubling what the public sector pays will bring it up to 30%. The rest – 70% — will still be paid for by people who need homecare and can’t get it from the public system. Quebec solidaire says the two measures would cost $1.1 billion annually. This tells me only how far away we are from a health system that actually works. The PQ upped the ante – they will triple the amount of home-care services by investing an additional $3 billion a year into the health system. Some detail please.
No more space…..till next time.

Dian Cohen, C.M., O.M., economist.
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