QS resumes its commitment to universal dental insurance

(New Richmond) Quebec solidaire resumes a historic commitment by promising universal public dental insurance, with an annual cost of 790 million, and wishes to force dentists to settle in the regions.

Updated on 1er september

Charles Lecavalier

Charles Lecavalier
The Press

“Access to dental care, no party talks about it, except QS. It has been a priority for years, because we know that families pay far too much on a daily basis for dental health care, ”explained the parliamentary leader of Québec solidaire Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois Thursday.

He says that one out of four Quebecers does not go to the dentist for lack of financial means. This year, Québec solidaire is including this promise in its bill reduction strategy.

After the “sun card”, the “smile card”, says Mr. Nadeau-Dubois. Quebecers spend an average of $515 “per household, per year, to go to the dentist, on bills or insurance payments”. “A vote for QS is a vote to lower Quebecers’ bills. We are also going to take action to finally lower the dentist’s bill,” explained Mr. Nadeau-Dubois.

He sees it as a way to distinguish himself from the Coalition avenir Québec. “When the time comes to settle the cost of living crisis, the CAQ is patching holes, we have a long-term vision […] to help people get through the crisis, to lower their bills,” he said.

Forcing dentists to go to the regions

Concretely, QS undertakes to set up in a first mandate a public and universal dental insurance which will make it possible to:

  • Cover 100% of dental care costs for youth under 18, social assistance recipients and seniors receiving the Guaranteed Income Supplement
  • For adults, cover 80% of costs for cleaning and preventive care, and 60% of costs for curative care, such as fillings and root canals

The announcement of the day is made at the heart of the Gaspé tour of Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois’ caravan. This is no coincidence: the region has “twice as many dentists and hygienists per inhabitant” as in Montreal, lamented the QS candidate in Bonaventure, Catherine Cyr-Wright.

The solution: put an end to the free market, and force dentists to establish themselves “where the needs of the population are” with a workforce distribution plan modeled on that of doctors. In return, they will have remoteness bonuses. QS also wants to deploy a “preventive dental hygiene care program in CPEs, schools, CLSCs and CHSLDs” and impose a fee schedule on all dentists.

Mr. Nadeau-Dubois specifies, however, that he would not force all dentists to join the public system. “The program would be administered by the Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec (RAMQ), but it is not a full and complete integration of all dental care,” he explained.

He compares his program with the public drug insurance plan. “People who currently have their private plan keep their private plan. What we are announcing is a basic social safety net for everyone so that no one escapes in Quebec, ”he said.

Federal program

As for the workforce distribution plan, it is the dentists who are members of the public plan who would be subject to it, as well as to a strict fee schedule. “We will be able to provide incentives to attract dentists to remote regions. The same act would be remunerated more advantageously here [en Gaspésie] “.

The bill for the program was higher in 2018: the party estimated it at 950 million per year. But this year, QS is reducing that bill by calculating that Quebec would get $250 million by exercising “its right to opt out with full compensation” from a possible federal dental care program, a key part of the political deal between the NDP and the Justin Trudeau Liberals.

“There is no question, but no question at all, that QS lets Justin Trudeau interfere in Quebec’s health skills with his own dental care program. We are committed to exercising the right of withdrawal from Quebec with full compensation,” explained Mr. Nadeau-Dubois.

This year, the left party wants to make a breakthrough in Gaspésie. The riding of Bonaventure has nearly 800 members, one of the party’s largest delegations. The day before, more than a hundred activists gathered at the La Belleaventure microbrewery to hear a speech by Mr. Nadeau-Dubois.

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