A cheaper trip to the hospital is on the Manitoba New Democrat’s radar.
NDP Leader Greg Selinger promised to reduce hospital parking rates and cut ambulance fees in half while removing the ‘per kilometre’ fees for rural families.
“They’re going to be the same, one price for all whether you live in urban, rural or northern Manitoba,” Selinger said on Monday.
Right now Manitobans pay the highest rates in the entire country at around $500 per ambulance trip.
Selinger said his party will bring that down to about $250 for everyone in the province.
As for the parking fees, Selinger says his party will work with hospital foundations to make parking more affordable. This will include expanding subsidized parking and supporting transportation programs for those who frequently go to the hospital to manage chronic diseases, according to Selinger.
“We’re going to relieve the burden of parking charges when people frequently visit a loved one in the hospital,” Selinger said.
He added the plan will be based on the CancerCare model introduced by the government in 2014.
“Frequent hospital visits place enormous financial and emotional burdens on patients fighting chronic disease,” said Dr. Dhali Dhaliwal, former President and CEO of CancerCare Manitoba.
“This will help patients and families cope with these stresses and improve their quality of life.”
The NDP also pledged to double the funding for the ‘EPIC’ program that treats frequent ambulance patients in their own home, preventing unnecessary trips to the hospital.
The promise will cost about $20 million according to the NDP.
Monday’s announcement comes after PC Leader Brian Pallister promised to cut ER wait times and reduce ambulance fees last week.