June 23, 1960 (24th Parliament, 3rd Session)

PC

George Stanley White (Government Whip in the Senate)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. While:

Mr. Chairman, I do not intend to delay the deliberations of this committee for very long, and I think I can finish by a minute or two after one o'clock.
First of all I wish to commend the minister for his able administration of the department, and I want to compliment the hon. member for Quebec West for his very sound contribution to the deliberations of this committee this morning.
The reason I rise at this time is to bring to the attention of the minister and the committee a certain amount of consternation which was aroused among my constituents, as well as, I feel, many other people in the province of Ontario, when it was mooted in
Supply-Health and Welfare the press that the cost of hospital insurance in the province of Ontario would be increased by 10 per cent. Ontario residents are not unaware that prior to the commencement of hospital insurance, hospital rates were increased considerably. I am not prepared to say the percentage, but there was quite a considerable increase percentagewise. The residents of Ontario were sold the hospital insurance plan simply because the cost of hospitalization was getting to the point where many citizens of the province felt that unless they had a hospital insurance plan of some kind they certainly could not afford hospitalization.
So I rise to protect an increase in hospital insurance rates, and I do so also because we were told that this was going to be an economical method for the people to obtain insurance. We hear a good deal today from certain quarters about monopolies; there is a lot of complaint about monopolies on the part of companies. But the worst monoply in my estimation is a state monopoly, something against which you cannot legislate, something against which you cannot argue. It is a bureaucratic monopoly, and that I am certainly against.
If hospital rates could be increased by 10 per cent after one year without any protest from the people paying the rates, what is to hinder them being increased another 10 per cent two or three years hence? This leads to sloppy administration on the part of hospitals, and I do not think we want that.
I want to commend the hon. member for Quebec West for his plea that we evade at all possible cost what is spoken of as state medicine. I believe it is quite possible for the medical profession-and I am certain they are engaged in doing so-to work out a prepaid plan that will be acceptable to all Canadians. Then the medical profession can go on with their very worth-while work and the ill can have the doctor of their choice. Bureaucracy in the treatment of the ill is something which I personally have no wish to see.
Mention was made of annuity plans and the possibility of being able to transfer from one job to another or from one industry to another the pension plan that was commenced at an earlier date. All these pension plans are commendable, but let us look back 20 years and see what has actually happened. We must examine the value of the dollars people contributed to pension plans some years ago, and recognize that it bears no resemblance to the 50-cent pieces they draw out today. That is what inflation does. If we are going to witness a continuation of the galloping inflation that has gone on since 1945 we will witness

Supply-Health and Welfare a corresponding decline in the incentive for people to save and the ultimate destruction of all incentive so to do.
I thank the committee for its indulgence.
At one o'clock the committee took recess.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL HEALTH AND WELFARE
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