National Dental Care Plan | The program would exclude 4.4 million Canadians

(Ottawa) A new report from the Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives concludes that millions of Canadians who do not benefit from a dental insurance plan will be excluded from the new federal program because their family income will be too high.

Registrations began last month for the new Canadian Dental Benefit, one of the conditions of the political agreement between the Liberal government and the New Democrats.

Ottawa will offer these dental benefits to uninsured families whose family income is less than $90,000 per year, starting with seniors, children under 18 and people with disabilities.

When the program is fully implemented in 2025, the government expects coverage to be available to approximately nine million people. But 4.4 million people who don’t have dental insurance will be excluded because of the income cap, the report said.

It would cost $1.45 billion to extend coverage to people whose incomes exceed the cap in 2025, on top of the $3.3 billion already budgeted in the program that year.

The report’s author, David Macdonald, the think tank’s senior economist, says $90,000 is not a particularly large income for a family with two parents and children.

“Earning $45,000 for each parent is not a huge salary in Canada. But earning more than that prevents these families from benefiting from federal coverage for dental care,” he points out.

The report states that a universal program would leave no one behind.

New Democratic Party (NDP) health critic Don Davies, who worked closely with the Liberals on the new dental policy, said in a statement that his party would ideally like to see the expanded coverage.

“This is a momentous step forward that will change the lives of many people. However, we have always been clear that this is a first step — a first payment — towards universal access and that we need to go further,” Mr Davies said in a statement.

Mr. Davies is also working with the government on the legislative framework for drug coverage for Canadians. In the case of pharmacare, the NDP insisted that coverage must be universal and single-payer, unlike the dental program.

The expansion of dental care according to the same principles will be a priority for the NDP in the next election, he said.

“New Democrats will not stop until all Canadians can access the dental care they need, regardless of their ability to pay,” he said.

Health Minister Mark Holland’s office did not directly respond to Macdonald’s concerns when contacted for comment on Wednesday, but said the new program aims to ease financial barriers to health care. access to dental health care.

“The Canadian Dental Care Plan will improve the lives of millions of Canadians, so they no longer have to choose between paying their bills or getting oral health care,” a spokesperson said in a statement. .

Ottawa plans to gradually enroll eligible participants in the new program over the next 12 months.

The first members of the program should be able to start claiming their dental expenses in May, although the exact date of coverage varies from person to person.

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