Monday, December 03, 2007

McGuinty stands up for the troops, and their families

I'm really pleased to read about this move from the McGuinty Liberal government. This is going beyond saying you support the troops, this is actually doing it. Hopefully this will spur similar legislation across the country. Kudos too to the opposition parties for giving unanimous consent.

Ontario extends health care for military families
The Canadian Press

December 3, 2007 at 2:56 PM EST

Toronto — Ontario is poised to become the first province to ensure that out-of-town military families get immediate access to free health care.

Premier Dalton McGuinty introduced the legislation today, earning unanimous consent from the opposition parties.

The bill also legislates job security for reservists when they're called to duty.
(more)

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8 comments:

SteelCityGrit said...

Tangentially, I'd really love it if progressives took their own advice and got off the "standing up for the troops" rhetoric. It is very silly, no matter to what end it is used.

rabbit said...

Hate to be a cynic, but...

1. Aren't military families getting immediate access to free health care right now? That is to say, specifically what is McGinty doing to help them? Is he paying annual health care fees or something?

2. If this means military families get placed at the front of the health queue, who gets pushed to the back?

Lord Kitchener's Own said...

Rabbit,

On point #1, this is about military families from "out of town" in the sense of "out of province" (the CP story quoted is poorly worded) who move to Ontario when their military family member is transfered here from elsewhere in the country. In the past, these families have had to wait 90 days (like anyone else moving to the province) before they are eligible for OHIP coverage, so they often had to pay out of pocket for medical expenses they encounter while that "new arrival" wait-time passed. Now, families of miltary members will be eligible for OHIP coverage as soon as they move to Ontario with their transfered military family member.

As for #2, I wouldn't characterize this as "being placed at the front of the queue" at all. They're just not being forced to wait 90 days before they can JOIN the queue. If there's a wait time for a medical service they still need to wait like anyone else, they just don't have to wait for the 90 day "new arrival" period to expire before they get coverage and can start waiting for the services. Now, I suppose these families ARE "jumping ahead" of other immigrants to Ontario who still have to wait 90 days for OHIP coverage to kick in after their arrival in the province, but personally, I'm just fine with that. If the reason you move to Ontario is that a member of your family serving in our military has been transfered from a base in Alberta to a base in Ontario, then you shouldn't need to wait 90 days to be covered by OHIP like some other private immigrant to the province. That seems perfectly reasonable to me.

Kingston said...

Lord, Your first comment concerning military families paying out of pocket is totally wrong, I have moved my family across this great country and we have never paid out of our pocket yet. The province that you have moved from pick up the cost during the waiting period. That is fact my friend. I do congrat the man for moving forward with the job protection aspect for our Reserve Force, A excellent group of citizens who have been under appreciated for way to long.

Kingston said...

To further clarify my point, If you were on vacation in NB and you broke your leg, they would still treat you, they would just bill you home province for the costs. All the provinces have the same working agreement.

Lord Kitchener's Own said...

Kingston,

Yes, if you were on VACATION somewhere else in Canada you would get treatment under your home province's plan. If you immigrate to Ontario though, you are no longer covered by your old province's plan, because you don't live there anymore, but you also have to wait 90 days before your coverage under OHIP kicks in, because you have to be resident in Ontario for 90 days to be eligible for OHIP. During that 90 days, you aren't covered by your OLD province (with some exceptions for military families moving from certain provinces that have already addressed this issue), and you aren't yet covered by Ontario's plan until you establish residency by being here 90 days. And military families have, in the past, MOST CERTAINLY paid out-of-pocket for expenses incurred between the time of their old provincial coverage expiring, and OHIP kicking in. That's the whole reason this legislation was brought forward in the first place.

This Toronto Star article is more exhaustive, and its very first paragraph deals with the wife of a soldier who had to pay out-of-pocket for medical expenses while waiting for the 90 day Ontario residency requirement to pass. Now, some other provinces have filled the gap already for moves between provinces, you're right, but by no means all provinces do this. The families of soldiers transfered from Quebec to Ontario, for example, still had to wait 90 days for OHIP to kick in, while no longer being covered by Quebec's plan (as they were no longer resident there) and therefore had to pay for expenses out-of pocket during the 90-day wait to establish Ontario residency.

Lord Kitchener's Own said...

Sorry,

I meant to add this link to a story which quotes the Health Minister with regard to the Quebec example (which is not unique, but is probably the most frequent inter-provincial problem in this area):

"In particular, military families coming to Ontario from Quebec face an additional burden because they often have to pay physician fees up front during the waiting period. The proposed legislation would remove this financial burden these families face when coming to Ontario."

Emphasis added.

Kingston said...

I see your point, Never having moved from the Belle Province to another, it never effected me and I did not know, because I have never heard of it being an issue. I stand corrected concerning Quebec Mon Ami.