Letter of the day: Nursing Home Fee Increases Unfair

Wayne Harrigan - CARP

Times&Transcript – Published Wednesday May 25th, 2011

To The Editor:

Let’s do a quick review. When the previous New Brunswick government came to power, they corrected two very unfair practices in our province with respect to nursing home fees.

First, they based the daily fee on income only and removed assets from the assessment process. New Brunswick was very late in correcting this unfair practice.

Second, they made the daily fee of $70 standardized throughout New Brunswick. This meant that many more nursing home residents could cover that cost or most of it. Before that government left power, they increased the daily fee to $83. This was a major increase. This meant that more New Brunswickers in nursing homes, the frailest of our aging population, were unable to meet this increase and taxpayers would be subsidizing their costs.

At the end of April, our current government announced that daily fees for nursing home residents would be increased from $83 to $95 effective May 1. This is nearly a 15 per cent increase without warning and imposed immediately.

This is unacceptable.

Seniors are facing increases in the cost of living – just look at groceries, gas and the daily expenses of life. Their pensions were not increased by 15 per cent. Their income is taxed as it always has been.

We remind the New Brunswick government that society is judged by the way it treats its seniors.

There is room for major improvement in our province.

Wayne Harrigan,