Canada’s New Democrat Party (NDP) has announced that it is committed to working toward free dental care for all Canadians.
“No one should have to deal with the pain or lifelong damage of going without dental care,” said NDP Leader and candidate for Prime Minister Jagmeet Singh.
“Some people have workplace insurance plans, but millions of Canadians don’t have any dental coverage at all,” said Singh.
Almost 20% of all Canadians don’t visit the dentist every year because they can’t afford to, according to the NDP, which says it will work with provincial partners and health professionals to expand Medicare to include dental services.
“Our Denticare plan is a down payment on Tommy Douglas’ vision—comprehensive dental care as part of our healthcare system,” said Singh.
“The ultimate goal of Medicare must be to keep people well rather than just patching them up when they get sick,” said NDP’s first leader, Tommy Douglas, in 1984. “It means expanding and improving Medicare by providing pharmacare and denticare programs.”
The proposal is part of the NDP’s New Deal for People. It aims to:
- Extend public dental care coverage to 4.3 million Canadians.
- Enact a national dental care plan to help uninsured Canadians with household incomes below $90,000 beginning in 2020
- Provide free dental care for households making under $70,000 with a sliding copayment for those who earn between $70,000 and $90,000
Under the NDP’s Denticare plan, a family of four with a household income of $70,000 or less would save at least $1,240 if they received the recommended dental examinations and cleanings in a single year and if each child was treated for a single cavity.
The NDP also says that ignoring dental care needs costs the healthcare system in the long run as well.
Emergency room visits due to dental emergencies cost taxpayers at least $155 million annually, the NDP says, but often don’t address underlying dental issues, leading to return visits and ongoing pressures.