August 27, 2018
by René Bruemmer, Montreal Gazette
Liberal leader Philippe Couillard has promised to extend free dental care to children 16 and younger and to low-revenue seniors, continuing the party’s campaign theme of easing the lives of families now that provincial coffers are flush.
He made the pledge on Sunday in the Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean region, where early front-runner Coalition Avenir Québec is predicting it will sweep all five ridings, including Couillard’s.
On Saturday, the incumbent premier pledged to give every child two medicare cards each to make lives easier for parents, especially those who are sharing custody of their children. He also promised 25 new super clinics to provide access to care, and to allow pharmacists to administer vaccines.
In the case of dental care, only children under 10 and Quebecers on welfare receive free coverage, about 620,000 recipients. The Liberals’ proposal could see opposition from the province’s dentists, who have been in a contract dispute with the government for three years, in part because they say they’re not being remunerated fairly for services covered under the public health system. The extended coverage would apply to an additional 1 million Quebecers and cost roughly $150 million a year, the Liberals said.
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