(L-R) Premier Rufus Ewing and opposition leader Sharlene Cartwright Robinson
On the heels of a statement issued by leader of the Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM), Sharlene Cartwright-Robinson, Premier Rufus Ewing has rushed to defend his former minister of health Amanda Misick, who is once again a candidate in the March 22 by-election in the Cheshire Hall/Richmond Hill constituency, having lost her seat when it was vacated by the court.
Cartwright-Robinson’s statement pointed out that a financial audit of the health care contract promised Misick has not yet been started.
Ewing had previously claimed that clinical audits were already underway before the court vacated Misick’s seat.
This is not true, according to new CEO of InterHealth Canada, Jill Magri, who admitted that neither clinical nor financial audits have begun.
In an attempt to find out why the promised audits have not gone forward, the TCI Weekly News contacted finance minister Washington Misick, who said he thought it might be because the “points of reference” have to be established but this was only his opinion.
Opposition leader Cartwright-Robinson went on to say, “The government has to urgently pay real attention to the healthcare monster they have created... health care costs are the single largest challenge to us next to the payment of debt.”
Ewing and his Progressive National Party (PNP) had promised to “hit the ground running” and accomplish much in its first 100 days.
However, many were surprised that, as a medical doctor who had been instrumental in the creation of the National Health Insurance Plan (NHIP), Ewing did not take on the responsibility for this ministry, assigning it instead to Amanda Misick, who accomplished little or nothing during her term in office.
Cartwright-Robinson in a follow up comment said, “The country cannot continue as is with the costs and state of healthcare, aside from the financial burden, our people are being turned away.”
As formulated, the NHIP only covers those in a position to make contributions to the plan. This includes those employed or self employed or those retired and receiving benefits from the National Insurance Board (NIB). Seniors retiring without benefits from NIB are not covered and those laid off are not covered. Also not covered are fishermen, farmers or others who cannot afford as self employed to pay $250 monthly into the plan. Laid off workers who find employment are required to make up all contributions they would have made had their employment continued.
It is thought that half of all residents are not now covered by the plan, which promised in its promotional literature provide coverage for all residents.
Cartwright-Robinson called on the Ewing government to begin the audits immediately, saying: “We believe the Peoples Democratic Movement has the moral authority to handle these issues. The government must begin the audits and we will take over from there.”