Ontario Seniors deserve to retire with dignity

The Ontario Liberal budget released this month has nearly doubled the cost that most seniors will pay for the medication they need to stay healthy. This decision was made without asking seniors and without any warning. I don’t think that’s right.

An average senior in Ontario needs 8 different kinds of medication, 1 in 3 need more than 10 medications and most are on fixed incomes.

If we don’t act now, a senior making $19,500 will see their Ontario Drug Benefit deductible almost double and they’ll pay a dollar more for each prescription they get filled, starting as early as this summer.

For seniors on a fixed income these costs are going to add up fast.

When I talk to people in our community, seniors have told me how carefully they have to plan their budgets. Increasing drugs costs will throw that planning into chaos.

I’m worried that as costs increase, we will see more and more seniors unable to afford the medication they need to take to stay healthy.

And when people don’t take their medication it leads to declining health and complications down the road. That means more seniors in hospitals, waiting even longer for care, instead of living in good health at home.

During the last campaign, Kathleen Wynne even agreed that“[t]he reward for a lifetime of hard work should not be poverty in your golden years.” But now that the Ontario Liberals are in office, they’ve broken their promise and it’s seniors on fixed incomes who are going to be paying the price.

The Premier might think this plan to increase drug costs looks good on paper, but the people who will find it even harder to pay for the medication they need, are our parents, grandparents, our friends. They’re the people who have helped build this province and they deserve respect.

Ontario’s New Democrats have been standing up for seniors and pushing hard to ensure they have access to the prescription drugs they need, when they need them.

Drop into my office to sign our petition or go to:

http://www.ontariondp.ca/demand_better_for_seniors

We should be expanding prescription drug coverage and protecting universal access to health care, not cutting back the coverage that seniors need. Now is the time for all of us to stand up together, to protect the health of Ontario’s seniors.

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