Every citizen is his or her own personal custodian. Our parents raised us to care for and nurture our own bodies and minds in order to fulfill our potential for a prosperous and happy life. Life requires that we make many choices in order to reach that potential. Too many of those choices are under government control.
Opt-In and Opt-Out legislation is the only democratic means by which citizens can take back greater control over their choices. It enables those who want government services to have them while simultaneously enabling others who prefer non-government services to also realize their preference. In practice, this legislation with enshrine the right for every citizen to choose what’s best for themselves and those for whom they are responsible.
The Opt-In and Opt-Out Formula can be applied in many areas where governments currently operate monopoly services. By allowing non-government services providers the ability to compete for clients, citizens can expect more and better services at reasonable terms, competitive prices and with more satisfying outcomes.
EDUCATION – Parental Choice, Student Success
We live in increasingly challenging times as we cope with rapid changes fuelled by the evolving Digital Economy. This is especially true in the workplace and in career advancement.
Employers today seek creative, knowledgeable and committed leaders, specialists and staff who can not only meet current job demands but who can also quickly acquire new skills and knowledge in order to take on future challenges.
Governments are not known for their flexibility, adaptability or leading-edge innovations.
The program planners and regulators at the Ministry of Education, school boards and the Ministry of Colleges and Universities are not well-situated to make the education and training decisions for individual students. Government plans tend to produce “one-size-fits-all” programs that are not very flexible where their rules and offerings are concerned.
The private sector is generally where innovation is found. Entrepreneurs constantly seek new ways to please customers in order to build a good market reputation and remain profitable. Older students in particular shall benefit greatly from a wider range of market-driven learning options to prepare them for the job market.
Let’s consider Freedom of Choice for the Education sector using the Opt-In:Opt-Out Formula.
- Do you want your child’s Education to be provided by the government? If Yes, then choose to Opt-In and pay taxes towards your share of all government Education costs.
Maybe you also want a Voucher Plan to allow you to direct government payments towards the school of your choice? This too is possible as long as your choice of a non-government service provider meets the inevitable qualifications criteria set by government officials to receive voucher-directed payments.
- Finally, what if you want no government involvement in your child’s education – not as regulator, curriculum planner, tax collector or services broker. With Opt-Out you make direct payments to your choice of non-government Education service provider for your child or grandchild. Also, you pay no Education-related government taxes and are not subject to the regulations of the Government choice.
- Eliminate ‘catchment’ areas. Good schools will thrive: bad schools will adapt or close.
Competition in the Education sector will benefit everyone– even the patrons of government schools! All schools will compete on the basis of quality of services provided, convenience, specialty offerings and more. We expect the Government education providers will need to adapt in order to compete for students as a sustainable source of tax revenue.
HEALTHCARE – Patient Choice, Better Outcomes
Public Healthcare suffers serious drawbacks. Many are described in “When Politics Comes Before Patients – Why and How Canadian Medicare is Failing” (2020) by Dr. Shawn Whatley, former President of the Ontario Medical Association and a practising Family Physician.
Like Public Education, Public Healthcare suffers from bloated bureaucracies, rationing of services, counter-productive labour union influences, poor accountability to taxpayers, various forms of cronyism and steadily rising costs that create perennial budget overruns.
With these concerns in mind, the Ontario Libertarian Party will:
- Apply the Opt-In:Opt-Out Formula to Health care. Begin by repealing all provincial legislation that currently supports ‘public health’ monopoly services so that non-government service providers will be able to enter the market and compete on an equal, fair and unrestricted basis with government services providers like OHIP.
- Nurture and facilitate the entry of new Healthcare non-government services providers. Shepherd the transition of Ontario’s staid and bureaucratic Healthcare monopoly towards a dynamic Healthcare Services sector. Patients will garner the many advantages of healthy competition without the overheads and inefficiencies of central planning.
- Grant healthcare professionals --doctors, nurses, technicians-- the choice to work for either OHIP or non-Government providers, or both, as they see fit and without penalty.
- Allow citizens to switch from any non-Government option back to OHIP with the same waiting period as any new resident in Ontario.
- Remove legislation that prohibits non-Government insurance providers from:
- competing directly with OHIP for customers.
- subcontracting certain services to OHIP. Basic Medical, for example.
Competition in Healthcare will rectify many of the problems discussed in Dr. Whatley’s book. New service providers will arise to meet the demand for many tests and procedures that are currently available only after prolonged waiting periods.
Canada remains one of the few advanced nations that continues to operate problem-plagued government monopolies in Healthcare. It’s time to add non-government services providers to this sector in order to provide more choices and better outcomes for our citizens.