New Brunswick

Seniors upset and unhappy with Gallant government's budget

Many seniors say they are being hit hard by the Gallant government's first budget which removes the financial cap on the cost of nursing home care and increases Blue Cross premiums.

Seniors advocate says many will follow in the footsteps of their younger family members and leave the province

Seniors in New Brunswick say they are being unfairly hit in the Gallant government's budget which includes an increase in prescription and nursing home costs. (CBC)
Many seniors say they are being hit hard by the Gallant government's first budget which removes the financial cap on the cost of nursing home care and increases Blue Cross premiums for seniors.

Carl Swift, a senior in Moncton, says the new budget is heavy-handed in its increases.

"They've all overspent and now is the time to settle it up but if they cut into the seniors too much — we don't have much anyway."

The budget changes the way seniors are assessed when it comes to paying for nursing home care.

Under the new budget, savings will no longer be exempt from the calculation and the cap that establishes the maximum payment for nursing home care at $113 a day is being removed.
NDP Leader Dominic Cardy says the Liberal government is gouging the most vulnerable citizens in the province. (CBC)

New Brunswick NDP Leader Dominic Cardy says the budget is a clear attack on the most vulnerable.

"Liberals are attacking seniors by forcing spouses and families to pay double for nursing home placements," he said.

"New Brunswick seniors have worked hard their whole lives to build up their own contingency funds and are now having them stolen by this Liberal government."

Seniors 'not going to put up with it'

Cecile Cassista, executive director of the Coalition for Seniors and Nursing Home Residents' Rights, says an increase in premiums for seniors who are covered by the Medavie Blue Cross prescription drug program will also be a burden.

"I mean they're asking the aging population to pay for a debt that they didn't create."

Kris Austin, leader of the People's Alliance, agrees saying "the seniors are going to take a hit" with an increase in the cost of care and the cost of prescriptions.

He says he was also shocked the budget didn't make any mention of investments in new nursing homes.

"We still have seniors that are living in hospitals, I didn't see anything in the budget that spoke of building new nursing homes or creating more beds for seniors so that was a big gaping hole in the budget as far as I'm concerned."

Cassista believes seniors will be very upset by the budget and expects many will follow their younger family members and leave the province.

"They're going to be talking, looking at selling their homes and moving out of the province because they certainly are not going to put up with it," she said.

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