NDP Leader Alison Coffin pledged Monday if her party were in favour, it would ensure seniors in Newfoundland and Labrador have dental services they need.
“Seniors can barely afford to stay in their homes because necessities like heat and food are so expensive. They just don’t have any more money to cover the cost of visiting a dentist or denturist. No one should be left suffering in terrible pain or risk getting an infection because they don’t have enough money,” Coffin said.
“For years, Liberal and Conservative governments have made cuts to programs that provided dental care services to people who needed them. Our seniors deserve better.”
Coffin said Liberals made cuts to the Adult Dental Program in 2016 and now crucial services like extractions, fillings and dentures are only available to seniors receiving the Guaranteed Income Supplement or living in long-term care homes. The Liberals’ program also only covers seniors for certain procedures on a timeline decided by the government, Coffin said.
Seniors can barely afford to stay in their homes because necessities are so expensive. They just don't have anything...Posted by Alison Coffin on Monday, January 18, 2021
“In 2019, the Liberals spent $2.2 million dollars on the Adult Dental Program to help 5,695 adults access dental services. They literally gave former Nalcor CEO, Ed Martin, more money than they spent to help adults in this province get the dental services they needed. It’s just not right,” she said.
“If we want a different future, we have got to make different choices. New Democrats will prioritize the health of our seniors. We will revamp the program in consultation with denturists and dentists so that seniors can get the care they need when they need it.”
Asked how the NDP would pay for that, given the government is cash strapped, Coffin said the way in which the budget is allocated would, under an NDP government, be made based on priority needs for people.
“We are going to make those choices that we stand for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are addressed first,” Coffin said.
“We’ve only seen the estimates documents — that’s only estimates, that’s essentially an intention of where we want to be. We haven’t seen the auditor general’s accounts of that so we don’t know how much programs have not been fully spent and we don’t know exactly where the money in this past year has gone. We make the right choices, we can support our programs and services.”