The Ontario NDP say they would scrap the $45 fee paid by patients for ambulance services.
Leader Andrea Horwath said patients shouldn’t have to think twice about dialing 911 during an emergency.
More than two-thirds ofOntario’s ambulance trips require a user co-pay of $45. Ontario Works recipients, long term care home residents, individuals with disabilities or who are receiving home care are presently exempt from paying the fee.
Horwath says her own mother has thought twice about calling for a ride when she needed one.
“We have an aging population, there’s more and more seniors who are going to be in need of that kind of service,” she told the Canadian Press. “I think it’s something that’s going to take a load off their mind.”
The NDP say scrapping the fees will cost $30 million per year, something Dalton McGuinty has already dismissed, saying families have other health care priorities.
Prince Edward Island removed the fee in 2009 and New Brunswick is in the process of removing their ambulance charges.
Jamie Ramage, Chair of OPSEU’s ambulance sector, says he supports the idea, noting the $45 fee means the most marginalized individuals may be reluctant to call when they need assistance.
The NDP plan to reveal their full election platform June 24. Ontarians go the polls October 6.
I do agree with the scapping of the $45 dollar fee for transportation via ambulance. Understanding that those who are already on the “Home Care System” can send their bill to their local CCAC to be reimbursed.
However as much as I agree with this I think that the cost for the private OPT (Ontario Patient Transfer) need to be looked at first. The cost to someone who requires transfer to non urgent appointments via ambulance, is exorbanent. Over $200. The persons who use this service have no other alternative, and are at the mercy of this privatized mode of transportation.
Saving 30M, $45 at a time is over 650,000 paid ambluance rides per year. Throw in the already free trips…Ontario is making, what, 700,000+ trips per year? In a population of 13M? Is that a reasonable number? Or are some politicians playing with the numbers…