Ontario could get free dental care if NDP win next election
This June, the people of Ontario will choose a new leader (or re-elect our current one) in what's shaping up to be one of the more exciting, and potentially impactful, provincial elections this century.
NDP leader Andrea Horwath changed that this weekend with a series of head-turning platform propositions.
"We are going to make sure every working person in Ontario has dental benefits," she told supporters at a campaign-style event in Toronto on Saturday. "And we will make the largest investment in public dental coverage in Ontario's history."
That's right – if the New Democratic Party forms a government following Ontario's general election on June 7, we'll all get free dental care. The proposed plan, pegged at $1.2 billion, would be the largest investment in dental care in the province's history.
We'll also get free prescription drugs, according to Horwath – as in all of us, aged zero to infinity. The Liberal government's OHIP+: Children and Youth Pharmacare, introduced in January, currently covers prescription medications for people under the age of 25 only.
"It's a prescription drug plan for everyone, no matter how old you are, no matter where you work, no matter how much money you make," Horwath said of what her party is calling "Canada's first universal pharmacare plan."
Like, seriously. Debt-free university grads, universal dental AND pharmacare, faster ERs and decreased wait times... I assume the NDP found a genie or two?— Emmett Macfarlane (@EmmMacfarlane) March 17, 2018
Saturday's event only previewed the NDP's full campaign platform, however. More about how the government would pay for these types of services will be released in the coming weeks.
NDP promise $1.2 billion universal free dental care plan. Andrea Horwath says it will be paid for by higher taxes for companies and high income earners.— 105.9 The Region (@1059TheRegion) March 19, 2018
Additional promises from Horwath's speech include lower health-care wait times, raise taxes on corporations, de-privatizing Hydro One and converting provincial student loans into grants that will not have to be repaid.
I like some of the things Horwath says and wants to do but she can't answer a single question when it comes to how she's going to manage a budget. She just answers a question that wasn't asked of her.— Mike C (@the_mike14says) March 19, 2018
The NDP has historically been a third-place party in both the federal and provincial systems, so a win for Horwath over Ford or current Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne would mark a major political upset.
Horwath is asked about how they're going to pay for this. She says the wealthiest among us and the most profitable corporations will be asked to pay their fair share.— Jessica Smith Cross (@jessiecatherine) March 19, 2018
Still, anything is possible – especially given how raucous and unusual Ontario politics have been this year already.
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