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Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP promises equitable access to universal dental care

“It’s the most significant improvement to our universal health-care system in a generation” — Bachrach
Taylor Bachrach, MP for Skeena-Bulkley, hailed universal dental care and pharmacare as the completion of NDP founder Tommy Douglas’ project for universal medical coverage for all Canadians. (Photo: Norman Galimski/The Northern View)

Dental care through a universal public system has been promised under a mutual agreement between the federal NDP and Liberal parties with Taylor Bachrach Skeena Bulkley MP assuring fair and equitable access for rural and remote communities.

“It’s the most significant improvement to our universal health-care system in a generation,” Bachrach said.

Under the accord, Delivering for Canadians Now: A Supply and Confidence Agreement(DFC), the two parties announced the funded dental care for low-income Canadians will be incrementally introduced for all households earning less than $90,000.

The first implementation stage will begin this year with children aged 12 and under, followed by youth under 18, seniors and persons living with a disability in 2023. They stated the dental care coverage program will be fully implemented by 2025.

The DFC agreement will be in effect until June 2025, safeguarding Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government to remain in power until then, plus allowing four budgets to be presented by the Feds during this period.

“To ensure coordination on this arrangement, both parties commit to a guiding principle of no surprises,” the Liberals stated.

The arrangement also includes a plan for “continuing progress towards a universal national pharmacare program by passing a Canada Pharmacare Act by the end of 2023,” the two parties stated. Should the act be implemented, it will create a national formulary — a list of prescription drugs covered by the potential system.

The MP said this marks the completion of NDP founder Tommy Douglas’ project for universal medical coverage for all Canadians.

“One of the things I’ll be keeping my eye on, in particular, is the rollout of this program for rural parts of Canada. So much of Skeena-Bulkley Valley is rural and remote communities, and people need to be assured an equitable level of access to the program,” Bachrach told The Northern View. “I’ll be advocating strongly for constituents in our region.”

The federal government will provide universal dental care while pharmacare will be funded in a way similar to how the provinces and the federal government currently share the costs of health care.

While Bachrach said the government has a “very good road map” of how to implement the two programs, the structure is still being ironed out.

“I wish we had all of the details. At this point, we have some pieces of the broad framework that are laid out in the agreement, but there’s a lot that needs to be worked out,” he said.

Bachrach said that residents could expect something similar to a doctor’s appointment at the dentist’s office where you bring your health care card rather than your credit card.

The MP also stated he hopes to make the new programs available to all Canadians at the same time.

With the new and extended accessibility of dental care, the demand is expected to rise and the need for doctors to meet it, he said.

“Ensuring that we have enough health-care professionals in rural areas can be a real challenge for some communities. So that’s going to be a part of the discussion absolutely. I’m going to be a strong advocate to ensure we have programs in place that ensure that people have access to those professionals,” he said.

READ MORE: Bachrach returns with results after salmon crisis talks in D.C.

Norman Galimski | Journalist
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