MP says Parksville senior an example of why national dental plan needed

A Parksville senior says he’s in desperate need of dentures but can’t afford them due to living on a fixed income.

A local MP says there is no government program for people like him but on the other side, the federal liberals say that program is in the works.

Edward Collins, who goes by Ted, has been facing some health challenges lately and a major aspect involves his teeth.

Several years ago, the 77-year-old paid to get crowns on most of his teeth on the advice of his dentist, but it wasn’t cheap.

“…totalling around $25,000. I thought it was a good investment for the rest of my life,” said Collins.

But then for some unknown reason, Collins says perhaps coincidentally after his COVID-19 vaccinations, his teeth started breaking.

To date, 23 of his teeth have broken off.

“I got it all priced out. To have my broken teeth all taken out is almost $3,000 and then for the dentures is another $8,000,” said Collins.

Collins says he can’t save that much being on a fixed income. It’s now difficult for him to eat and he’s losing weight. His situation has come to the attention of his Member of Parliament, Gord Johns.

“Clearly because of New Democrats and the confidence and supply agreement the government has committed to bringing in a dental care plan this year that will cover children under 12, next year seniors, people living with disabilities and the year after all families that are $90,000 a year or less but it just can’t come quick enough for someone like Ted and people who don’t think we need a dental care program all they need to do is look at someone like Ted,” said Gord Johns, the MP for Courtenay-Alberni riding.

In a statement, Health Canada says: “…the Government of Canada has committed $5.3 billion over five years to provide dental care for people in Canada unable to access care because of costs and …both the provincial/territorial and industry engagement will help to inform the Government’s decisions on how to proceed with this significant commitment.”

Collins says it’s a positive move but he’s worried it may be too late for him.

“Certainly, ’cause I don’t know how long I can go on like this. The last four months or five months since the last teeth fell out it’s been hell,” added Collins.

Collins says he’s lost more than 60 pounds and his teeth may now be a matter of life or death.

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