THUNDER BAY – POLITICS – Today, Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said that families in the north deserve fair access to healthcare, and called on the Premier to explain why the Liberal government is increasing drug costs for struggling seniors across the north, and squeezing hospitals that have already been forced to make deep cuts. Over the next week Horwath will be visiting communities across the northwest including Thunder Bay, Sioux Lookout, Dryden, Eagle Lake First Nation, and Red Lake.
“Seniors in Northern Ontario already pay more for a litre of gas, a dozen eggs, and to heat their homes. Nearly doubling the cost of prescription medication for most seniors in Northern Ontario is going to make life a lot tougher for people across the north,” said Horwath. “We should be making healthcare more accessible. The Premier’s decision to nearly double drug costs goes in the wrong direction.”
In addition to increasing drug costs for seniors, the Liberals continue to cut hospital care across the North. Hospitals in Thunder Bay, Timmins and North Bay are feeling the pain of funding cuts, and patient care has suffered. Unfortunately, the government’s decision to keep hospital funding increases below the rate of inflation will mean more tough decisions, and the potential of more cuts to frontline care.
“Northerners rightfully expect that if they have to go to the hospital, they’ll get the care they need when they need it, but decisions made by the Liberal government have meant that hospitals across the north have been forced to cut services, and close beds. It’s not acceptable that hospitals are jam-packed and long wait times have become the new normal for northern hospitals,” continued Horwath. “Northerners deserve better.”