Our Active Community, by Kristy Herron
Many people have had the Canada Revenue Agency contact them about claims for medical expenses. The big question was, "Why are you traveling over 100 kilometres to see a family doctor?”
South West Health authority, which has set up clinics for ‘orphan’ patients, says almost 4,000 of us do not have a family practitioner. That fact obviously has no effect on the Canada Revenue Agency.
If you live in Nova Scotia, you are definitely on the road for any specialist, any test and any consultation that your health requires. I guess the CRA does not understand Nova Scotia health care.
I find this particularly frustrating as many of those who are being harassed can ill afford the fees for doctor’s letters and postage to reply to the CRA. Several of my friends were ‘on the road’ almost weekly for specialist from Halifax to Yarmouth last year. I was the driver. I was also in the same situation.
This paper has had stories about patients desperately trying to get a practitioner, only to be told that they were too late and better luck next time. If you have a chronic condition, if you need surgeries, if the services that you require for your health are not available in Digby—and most are not—then it requires hours of travel, overnight stays in places like Point Pleasant Lodge in Halifax, as well as a great deal of stress. As if there is not enough anxiety, the CRA adds to your burden.
Many of these folks contacted by CRA are at or near the poverty line, yet by the agency’s own media reports there are thousands of other folks who are socking money offshore and evading taxes. CRA has even postponed its own whistleblower program aimed at identifying these people.
When you are ill, medical professionals tell you to try to avoid any extraneous stresses; guess the CRA has not got that message.
I am one of those who just sent off a two-inch thick envelope to the regional CRA office in Saint John’s, Nfld. Fortunately, my physician did not charge me, but Canada Post certainly did.
Others I spoke to were not so lucky. At a recent social gathering, I found out that I was not the only one in this situation. The others were far worse off with their medical needs and it was causing them great distress. If you are ill, trying to achieve better heath, to have your own government attack you compounds the condition and makes it increasingly difficult.
Our democracy has many flaws, one of which is the CRA. Media reports about money spent to advertise government programs that do not exist, on nuisance mailings from your Member of Parliament, and blatant misuse and over expenditures make my blood boil when I discover that those who can least afford or least tolerate these kinds of harassment are being targeted.
Time for a reality check!