New Quebec provincial plan to cover $3.2B in nursing care costs would be ‘insane’
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Quebec has a new plan to provide free nursing care to seniors with no other means of support, but critics say it would be insane and would cost the province more than $3 billion.
The provincial plan would include a new, state-run program called the Canadian Nursing Alliance, which would provide up to $2,000 a month in income-support benefits to anyone who qualifies for it.
But critics are concerned the alliance would be a major drag on the economy.
New Democrats have called for the NDP government to halt the alliance, and Quebec Liberal Premier Philippe Couillard has already pledged to introduce a new nursing plan as part of a new national plan.
“We have to put an end to this absurdity,” Couillard said Thursday.
Quebec’s nursing plan, which was announced Thursday, would cover about 30,000 seniors in the province, with about half of those aged 55 and older.
In addition to paying for the nursing plan through taxes, Couillard is also seeking to raise $7.5 billion in provincial taxes.
Couillard says the plan would be “the most progressive” in the country, with an additional $6 billion coming from the federal government.
But critics say the alliance could be a drag on Quebec’s economy.
“This is a plan that, by the way, does not cover any new jobs in nursing or in health care,” said Alexandre Chabot, president of the Quebec Nurses Association.
Chabot says the alliance’s $2 million annual budget would not cover the costs of new facilities or staff to support the seniors, who currently receive free care from hospitals in the city of Quebec City.
And the alliance has a cap on the number of people it can support, with some seniors receiving only $5,000 to $6,000 per year.
Couillard said he plans to introduce new provincial legislation to provide an additional amount for the alliance next year, but he declined to say how much.
He has not specified how the alliance plans to be funded.
Other provinces have also announced plans to provide nursing support to seniors, with Manitoba, Nova Scotia and Ontario recently announcing plans to cover the cost of the alliance and provide the same amount to seniors.
Quebec has a new plan to provide free nursing care to seniors with no other means of support, but critics…