Doctors demanding Ottawa reverse refugee healthcare decision
Some doctors at the Montreal Childrens Hospital today invited reporters to a symbolic mailing of letters of protest against the federal government decision to start making refugees pay for their non-emergency health care.
Doctors fighting the federal rule change fear that refugees who can't afford non-emergency health care will let their condition deteriorate until it becomes an emergency, which is still covered under the federal program. Doctor Micheline Ste-Marie says that could potentially cost Ottawa more money than ever. For instance, a refugee child suffering from severe asthma whose parents can't afford preventative health care and who ultimately has to be rushed to hospital and possibly admitted. A cost she says could have been avoided with a few inexpensive inhalers.
There is some positive news: the Quebec government has agreed to foot the federal bill for basic health care for refugees in this province, at least temporarily.