Ontario will bill Ottawa $2 million for refugee health costs

July 24, 2014
Article Source
Toronto Star

Ontario is sending Ottawa the bill for the $2 million the province will spend this year on basic medical services for refugees, says Health Minister Eric Hoskins.

Bolstered by a Federal Court decision earlier this month that said Prime Minister Stephen Harper's cuts to coverage were "cruel and unusual," the province is stepping up its fight with the federal government.

"We have a responsibility to care for all those that reside here — particularly those that are the most vulnerable," Hoskins said Wednesday at the Crossroads Clinic at Women's College Hospital, which serves about 1,200 refugee patients a year.

"This isn't about better care for our refugees, this is about the most basic services," he said, noting pregnant claimants have suffered because of Ottawa's move two years ago to slash medical benefits for newcomers.

"I call on Stephen Harper and (Immigration Minister) Chris Alexander to do the right thing and they can also expect to receive the bill from us with a 'past due date' for the additional funding Ontario has invested."

Hoskins pointed out the Ontario Temporary Health Program is helping patients after Ottawa’s "vacating" measure to save money.

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