Ontario Benefits: Ontario NDP leader pitches public dental plan

The leader of Ontario’s NDP has unveiled a campaign promise to extend dental care to millions without insurance coverage.

Should the NDP form the next government of Ontario, Andrea Horwath said the program would provide dental benefits to 4.5 million Ontarians at a cost of $1.2 billion.

She updated on Facebook,

“Millions in Ontario are without basic dental care coverage — that means living in pain, dealing with the lifelong damage of no dental care, or racking up credit card bills.
Under my dental care plan, everyone will have dental coverage – with working people and their families covered through their job, and all other Ontarians covered through public dental coverage.
It’s time to help people be healthier, and make life more affordable in Ontario — it’s time for change for the better. ”

The party anticipates the plan, called Ontario Benefits, would cover basic procedures such as dentures, exams, X-rays, fillings, cleanings, and restorative work.

Under the plan, public cash would cover care for seniors without insurance and those on social assistance. For employers, the NDP would make offering a minimum standard of dental coverage mandatory, including for part-time and contract workers.

Businesses would have the option of participating in the public plan — with benefits covered 75 per cent by the employer, 25 per cent by the employee — or offering a comparable level of coverage through a private company.

The party said if Horwath becomes premier, the plan would be fully implemented by the end of her first term.

Horwath says an NDP government would raise the money to pay for the plan by increasing taxes on the wealthy and corporations.

The NDP leader also said that her party would run a deficit if elected, but she would not provide any further details.