"I just cannot understand how my government can take the most vulnerable of people and decide it's appropriate to make them more vulnerable," said Dr. Paul Caulford, a Scarborough, Ont., family physician, who has worked with immigrants and refugees for decades.Immigration Minister Jason Kenney claims that refugee claimants have better health care than other Canadians - a lie - and that this is a cost-cutting measure - another lie. The Interim Federal Health Program costs a pittance. And we all know that allowing health needs to go untreated does not save money in the long run. The move is part of Jason Kenney's program of tightening the noose around certain prospective immigrants and refugee claimants, to make Canada a harsher, less hospitable, less welcoming place to people without resources, from countries he has targeted.
Dr. J at your heart's on the left explains.
The Tories justify the cuts by claiming that they will promote fairness, save money and protect public health. But these arguments are bogus. Denying basic and medically necessary health care for people who have been forced to leave their countries to escape war, rape, torture and persecution is not fair, it is inhumane. Furthermore, as the CCR points out “the government’s own figures show that the per capita cost for refugee claimants under the IFHP is only about 10% of the average per capita cost for Canadians.” Refugees are not a drain on the system, and depriving of them of basic health care needs will not save money. Instead, denying people cost-effective preventive care will force them to suffer complications of untreated conditions, which is costly and a threat to public health.
As infectious disease specialist Dr. Mark Tyndall wrote, "There is not a health economist in the world who would tell you that restricting primary and preventive care is a cost saver. In fact, waiting until people require urgent care before intervening is contrary to everything we know about sound health economics. Does Immigration Minister Jason Kenney really believe that we shouldn’t treat someone’s high blood pressure, diabetes, depression or arthritis or offer pre-natal care to expectant mothers?"