Owen Pallett

Government Revokes Owen Pallett's Health Care


Update: An open letter has been sent to the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care from NDP MPPs France Gelinas and Rosario Marchese on February 26, 2008. The letter is copied below.

It's official. Neither indie accolades nor a Polaris Prize can get you health coverage these days. Such is the saga of Toronto's Final Fantasy (Owen Pallett) who in a post on Stillepost yesterday explained how the Ontario Ministry of Health revoked his health card.

According to Owen, it all started when he went to a local office to renew his health card. After answering a bunch of questions about his touring schedule, family and life as a musician, the non-shower-singing He Poos Clouds government worker said he was no longer eligible for health care coverage.

Read the post on Stillepost for the play by play and latest updates.

Photo by Staciaann Photography

The open letter:

--------

Minister:

I am writing to urge your immediate intervention to help Owen Pallett, a Toronto-based musician who was recently denied OHIP coverage. Owen, also known as "Final Fantasy," is an award winning artist who deserves our support. Instead, he was unfairly treated by your Ministry. Please find attached a package outlining his concerns.

Owen is an Ontario resident who frequently travels to perform for audiences not only in Canada but worldwide. When Owen went to renew his expired OHIP card, his coverage was immediately revoked on the basis that he was outside the province for a period more than 153 days. This determination was made simply on the basis of a brief conversation.

Minister, such swift actions are both inappropriate, unnecessary and violate the Health Insurance Act. No Ontarian should see his or her OHIP coverage summarily revoked. Instead, all Ministry officials should work with the public to ensure that all applications are properly processed.

I understand that according to the Health Insurance Act, Regulation 552, Section 1.1 (3) 1, Owen would be considered exempt from the 153 day requirement on the basis of him being absent from Ontario for employment purposes. This exemption should have been more thoroughly explored before Owen's OHIP was abruptly revoked.

Minister, your assistance is required. The right to public health care is a value cherished by Ontarians. The public should never fear that their access to health care can so easily be revoked. Owen deserves to have his OHIP coverage immediately reinstated.

I look forward to hearing from your office.

Sincerely,

France Gelinas
Rosario Marchese
cc: Owen Pallett


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