Dental Insurance | Soon an announcement, assures Duclos

(Ottawa) Federal Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos says an implementation plan for his promised dental insurance will be announced “soon” and that it will satisfy the New Democratic Party (NDP) with which the Justin Trudeau Liberals have reached an agreement.

Posted at 12:13 p.m.

Emilie Bergeron
The Canadian Press

This program, which must be announced, is central to the agreement between the two parties which ensures that the Trudeau government will remain in power until 2025.

Under the agreement, Ottawa has until the end of the year to provide some form of coverage for children under 12 whose family incomes are less than $90,000. Otherwise, the NDP has promised to withdraw from the agreement.

“We will soon be able to reach a decision [sur l’assurance dentaire] […] and of course, we will eventually communicate this decision when the time comes,” Duclos said Tuesday during a press briefing in Ottawa.

He expressed confidence that the NDP will be satisfied with the content of the upcoming announcement.

“We are very confident […] that the plan that we are going to propose in the coming weeks will not only meet everyone’s expectations, but also meet the needs,” said the Minister.

He pointed out that he has had several meetings recently with stakeholders in the dental care community and that the Liberals have been working “intimately” with the New Democrats for months.

Earlier this month, sources familiar with the matter told The Canadian Press that the Trudeau government was considering a temporary solution that would be to pay money directly to patients.

These sources, who were not authorized to speak publicly, said that without this option, the government is unlikely to be able to meet its deadline.

Ottawa has reserved $5.3 billion over five years for the promised dental insurance program, but the Parliamentary Budget Officer estimates that the necessary envelope would be more like $9 billion.

Once the program is fully implemented, the government projects in its most recent budget that it will cost about $1.7 billion a year to operate, which matches the Parliamentary Budget Officer’s estimate.

With information from Laura Osman

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