Ontario New Democratic Party Leader Andrea Horwath announced that if her party is elected in the October provincial election, they would scrap the $45 ambulance service fee that is charged to patients during an emergency transportation.
To tackle healthcare costs for Ontarians, Horwath put forth the initiative to eliminate the $45 fee that is charged by ambulances when the patient is transported to the hospital for a medical emergency. The fee is transferred over to the hospital and the provincial government.
“The pain and stress of an emergency is hard enough, no one should have to deal with the financial burden on top of that. It’s time to eliminate ambulance fees,” said Horwath. “Calling an ambulance is a decision people should take seriously. People should think twice before they call, but they shouldn’t think twice about the cost.”
The NDP says eliminating the fee would cost the province approximately $30 million per year, but would have no significant impact on hospital or governmental budgets.
Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty delivering speech.
Horwath noted that Ontarian families are facing more and more out-of-pocket charges for various healthcare items, including access to personal health records and general practitioner fees.
“Families are being dinged everywhere they turn,” added Horwath. “Eliminating the ambulance fee is one step towards strengthening our public healthcare system while making life more affordable.”
Premier Dalton McGuitny dismissed the $45 fee by explaining that he plans to campaign on helping families on more important healthcare issues, such as wait times and access to a family doctor.
“It’s kind of interesting coming from the party which was the original author of the $45 fee,” said McGuinty, reports the Toronto Sun. “We’ll be focusing more on what I think are issues of higher priority to families.”
The Ontario Legislature is not in session. The Ontario Liberals hold 71 seats; the Progressive Conservatives maintain 25 seats and the New Democrts have only 10 seats in the Legislative Assembly.
The latest poll conducted by Ipsos Reid suggests that Hudak is holding a six-point lead over his Liberal rival McGuinty. Among decided voters, Hudak has 40 percent support, while the Liberal Leader has 34 percent support. Horwath has garnered 20 percent and Mike Schreiner’s Green Party of Ontario is last with six points.
Ontario voters head to the polls on October 5.