This is page numbers 4577 - 4596 of the Hansard for the 16th Assembly, 5th Session. The original version can be accessed on the Legislative Assembly's website or by contacting the Legislative Assembly Library. The word of the day was need.

Topics

Question 22-16(5): Proposed Changes To The Supplementary Health Benefits Program
Oral Questions

Sandy Lee Range Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I’m happy to advise the Member that all that creativity the Member has spoken to is right here in this document. Mr. Speaker, we have facts here that show that there is no difference in income earning power through the ages. Whether you are whatever age, we have people who are making high income and people who are making low income. Right now, people who are making low income but not low enough to be eligible for indigent, are going without basic dental coverage for their children. But we’re not saying, okay, here’s a plan, take it or leave it, yes or no. We are having a dialogue. We are providing people information about who is using it, what do they use it for, what are their income levels.

Secondly, the insurance programs factor. Mr. Speaker, we have a situation right now where some people with insurance coverage are encouraged to drop it because there is a built-in incentive to drop. One idea we are asking the people to talk about is should we encourage people to get third-party coverage. Obviously, the government will be the

last resort for anybody who either can’t get insurance or who is rejected from insurance because of a pre-existing condition. Those are the conversations that we are wanting to have and all that information is in this public discussion paper. Thank you.

Question 22-16(5): Proposed Changes To The Supplementary Health Benefits Program
Oral Questions

Jane Groenewegen Hay River South

Mr. Speaker, is there any other jurisdiction in Canada where the general population pays absolutely no health insurance premiums? Thank you.

Question 22-16(5): Proposed Changes To The Supplementary Health Benefits Program
Oral Questions

Sandy Lee Range Lake

There is no other jurisdiction in Canada where there is not some kind of income testing. In fact, in most jurisdictions they do asset testing. This one, we are saying income as a possibility of determining access, and no matter what your age, your ability to pay should factor in.

Secondly, Mr. Speaker, one thing that the Member for Hay River South mentioned earlier is that our previous plan that came out was designed in such a way that if you didn’t make an income threshold, you are dropped off. We’re not suggesting this. This is an idea. We’re saying should there be gradual responsibility for people who can afford it, people who are making high income could start paying in at certain levels so that people in lower incomes can benefit, because they are not, right now, included. Thank you.

Question 22-16(5): Proposed Changes To The Supplementary Health Benefits Program
Oral Questions

Jane Groenewegen Hay River South

Mr. Speaker, for people who are in a higher income bracket, but still, people even in a higher income bracket could not be prepared for something like the type of cost associated with certain medications, and always the technology, the medical sciences advancing and things that are available. Mr. Speaker, is this government doing anything to make those people aware of private insurance plans outside of this government? What is this government doing to suggest to people who can afford it that perhaps they should be looking at private insurance plans to cover those kinds of costs that are unanticipated? That is the intention and purpose of insurance. Thank you.

Question 22-16(5): Proposed Changes To The Supplementary Health Benefits Program
Oral Questions

Sandy Lee Range Lake

That’s absolutely right, Mr. Speaker. A lot of people have been asking about why we don’t we have catastrophic drug benefits. We don’t have national catastrophic drug coverage in Canada; the national government is not interested in doing that. We know of residents in other provinces who are actually having to sell their houses to pay for cancer drugs. This program speaks to providing coverage for catastrophic drug coverage so that no matter how high your income is, in the Northwest Territories you are not going to be saddled with having to decide whether you should sell your house to pay for your cancer drug. That’s not going to happen. We’re just asking that we look at the accessibility.

Secondly, I need to correct the facts. I said earlier, Mr. Speaker, obviously Nunavut has a very similar

program to us in supplementary health, but in most jurisdictions they have either a premium or income testing or much less supplementary health benefits than what we have here. Thank you.

Question 22-16(5): Proposed Changes To The Supplementary Health Benefits Program
Oral Questions

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Ms. Lee. Your final supplementary, Mrs. Groenewegen.

Question 22-16(5): Proposed Changes To The Supplementary Health Benefits Program
Oral Questions

Jane Groenewegen Hay River South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I know the Minister will probably feel that she’s already answered this question, but let me say again, for the benefit of the public, the government is trying to create a program that makes sense, that is sustainable going ahead in the future, that this government can afford, and the Minister is committed to meaningful consultation with the stakeholders involved in this and will do everything in her power to make those affected have access to input into this new system that will come into place. Thank you.

Question 22-16(5): Proposed Changes To The Supplementary Health Benefits Program
Oral Questions

Sandy Lee Range Lake

Absolutely. Positively, Mr. Speaker. I look forward to having this discussion over the next two or three months. Thank you.

Question 22-16(5): Proposed Changes To The Supplementary Health Benefits Program
Oral Questions

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Ms. Lee. The time for question period has expired. Item 8, written questions. Item 9, returns to written questions. Item 10, replies to opening address. Item 11, petitions. Item 12, reports of standing and special committees. Item 13, reports of committees on the review of bills. Item 14, tabling of documents. The honourable Minister responsible for Industry, Tourism and Investment, Mr. Bob McLeod.

Tabled Document 2-16(5): NWT Community Futures Program Annual Report 2008-2009
Tabling of Documents

March 2nd, 2010

Bob McLeod Yellowknife South

Mr. Speaker, I wish to table the following document entitled NWT Community Futures Program Annual Report to March 31, 2009. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Tabled Document 2-16(5): NWT Community Futures Program Annual Report 2008-2009
Tabling of Documents

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mr. McLeod. The honourable Minister responsible for Environment and Natural Resources, Mr. Miltenberger.

Tabled Document 3-16(5): Status Report: Environment And Natural Resources Framework For Action 2008-2012
Tabling of Documents

Michael Miltenberger Thebacha

Mr. Speaker, I wish to table the following document entitled Status Report to December 2009, Environment and Natural Resources Framework for Action 2008-2012. Thank you.

Tabled Document 3-16(5): Status Report: Environment And Natural Resources Framework For Action 2008-2012
Tabling of Documents

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mr. Miltenberger. The honourable Member for Weledeh, Mr. Bromley.

Tabled Document 4-16(5): Executive Summary Of The Report On The Joint Review Panel For The Mackenzie Gas Project
Tabling of Documents

Bob Bromley Weledeh

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I would like to table the Executive Summary of the Report of the Joint Review Panel for the Mackenzie Gas Project. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Tabled Document 5-16(5): Office Of The NWT Languages Commissioner Annual Report 2008-2009
Tabling of Documents

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mr. Bromley. Pursuant to Section 23 of the Official Languages Act, I wish to table the Office of the Northwest Territories Languages Commissioner Annual Report 2008-2009.

Item 15, notices of motion. The honourable Member for Weledeh, Mr. Bromley.