Sask. NDP pledges to cut ambulance fees if elected
Published Saturday, March 5, 2016 1:50PM CST
Last Updated Saturday, March 5, 2016 4:13PM CST
The Saskatchewan NDP is promising to make ambulance fees more affordable if the party wins the April 4 election.
At a campaign-style announcement Saturday in Regina, NDP Leader Cam Broten said his government would put an end to charges for transfers between health-care facilities and “outrageous” per-kilometre charges.
The NDP says Saskatchewan is the only province that charges people for ambulance transfers between facilities, and one of only two that apply a per-kilometre charge on top of the basic charge.
“A massive bill shouldn’t be a part of health care,” Broten said in a news release.
Broten said the Saskatchewan Party’s response to ambulance-fee struggles has been “awful.”
An EKOS poll showed about half of Saskatchewan residents said they would delay calling an ambulance because of the cost, the NDP said.
According to the release, the basic pick-up charge for an ambulance in Saskatchewan is between $245 and $325, while the per-kilometre charge has risen to $2.30.
The NDP estimates that eliminating both the per-kilometre charge and all costs for transfers between facilities would cost the government $18 million annually.
The Sask. Party government issued a response saying the NDP announcement isn’t new. A spokesperson says the NDP promised in its 1999 platform to introduce a single, reasonable fee for ambulance services.
“They had two terms in office to make these changes,” the statement read.
The government says funding to health regions for ground ambulances has increased by 54 per cent since 2007-08 to $75.26 million, and about 71 per cent of costs for ambulance services are already covered by the province.