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Zane DeSilva

Shadow Health Minister Asks, Who Does This Change in FutureCare Benefit?

"The changes increase the burden on the people who can least afford it,
lower the burden for those who can most afford it and drives up government
spending on Financial Assistance..  Simply put, under the OBA, wealthy Mrs.
Jones in Tuckers Town now pays the same as Mrs. Smith in Back of Town.

Shadow Health Minister Zane Desilva today questioned the change to the fee
structure for FutureCare as outlined by the current Minister of Health
Patricia Gordon-Pamplin.

"The changes increase the burden on the people who can least afford it,
lower the burden for those who can most afford it and drives up government
spending on Financial Assistance..  Simply put, under the OBA, wealthy Mrs.
Jones in Tuckers Town now pays the same as Mrs. Smith in Back of Town.

Last year there were 2616 seniors on Future Care of which 563 were
also on Financial
Assistance  - with this increase Financial assistance will be expected to
fork out an approximate $37,000 extra per month! That's IF the number of
seniors on Financial Assistance hasn't increased.

Additionally , there were 312 seniors paying the higher rate.  This price
cut, for the people who need it least, means a reduction of
$60,880.00 per month. These two changes in premium add almost $1.2
million that will now have to be found by the OBA from taxpayers each
year.

The OBA's early record on seniors is depressing. First the OBA punished
seniors by raising their license fees.  Then they abandoned their commitment
to Lefroy House, now they are increasing the FutureCare for the people who
can least afford it, while giving their wealthy friends a price cut.

The OBA could have taken this opportunity to increase the prescription
benefit from $2000.00 to $4000.00 per year but didn't.  This despite the
fact that too many of our seniors are having to pay for their prescriptions
long before the end of the fiscal year and end up paying out of their
already stretched pockets.

The OBA could have taken this opportunity to pursue a more balanced
approach but didn't.  Instead the taxpayer and needy seniors are
expected to bear the brunt of this OBA decision.

The OBA has a part time Minister charged with looking after the country's
largest budget and as a result hasn't dedicated the time needed to look at
things from the correct perspective.  Unfortunately our seniors and indeed
our entire population will suffer in the future.

It is our hope that the OBA will pursue a more balanced approach going
forward and avoid asking our Bermuda's most vulnerable citizens to sacrifice
for their wealthier countrymen.

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DeSilva Calls Out Both Ways OBA for Deceiving Seniors

First, the OBA attacked FutureCare, now, they're praising it. Today, Zane DeSilva stood with a dozen Bermudian seniors and talked about all the PLP has done to stand strong for our seniors.

Minister DeSilva:

We are pleased to be here today at the wonderful Sylvia Richardson Care Facility. Since 1998, the PLP have STOOD STRONG for seniors by increasing pensions...... eliminating land tax on primary homestead...... driving down the cost of prescription drugs....... eliminating upfront payments on medical treatment..... introduced FutureCare and much, much more.

Today I am with some of the pillars of Bermuda.... people who have helped to build our country and who in their golden years we have kept always in our thoughts and in our vision for Bermuda.

These are the people we are fighting for...the people who stand to lose the most if we allow FutureCare to be scrapped. These are the people who don't want to go backwards to the way it used to be. These are people who want us to keep moving forward on making the lives of seniors better, safer and less stressful.

The OBA continues to say one thing today......another thing tomorrow. One day they support our seniors and FutureCare....... and the next day they are standing against our seniors and FutureCare.

The OBA's Anthony Francis has stated, " The current model of Future Care will be scrapped because it is unfair and unsustainable."

The inexperienced OBA's Andrew Simons says, "the OBA supports Future Care"

On Future Care.... the former UBP MP spokeswoman on seniors, the OBA's Louise Jackson says......., "It has got to be means tested as it is not fair.”

Mrs. Jackson has also said MANY times in House of Assembly that FutureCare needs to be GONE! As has her colleague former UBP leader Grant Gibbons.

OBA Deputy Leader and Former UBP Leader Michael Dunkley say's....... “Seniors enrolled in Future Care will see no change in their benefits.”

OBA Leader Craig Cannonier says......., "Austerity isn't such a bad idea ."

Who is REALLY in charge over there and is the OBA more concerned with gaining power than standing strong for our seniors?

Will they cutback benefits for our most vulnerable seniors or will they decrease premiums for the wealthy?

I don't know and you don't know because they continue to duck, dodge, hide and run from giving the people of Bermuda their REAL plan.

The PLP has a record of delivering real results for our seniors. The OBA is a giant question mark. They tell you what you want to hear, but, can you really count on them to deliver?

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Monday: Southampton Town Hall

Calling all PLP supporters! Undecided voters! You're cordially invited to a town hall meeting on Monday, November 19th at the Heron Bay Primary School in Southampton. The event starts at 7:30 pm.

Featured at the town hall are your Southampton candidates - candidates that care about the community and our people. Come out and hear Zane DeSilva (C29), Stephen Todd (C30), Scott Simmons (C31) and Randolph Horton (C32) talk about our vision for Southampton and all of Bermuda.

Come hear about the Premier's visionary ten point plan for growth and all we've done to stand strong for Bermudians during these tough times for the global economy. Hear about FutureCare, DayCare, the EEZ, Job Training and so much more.

Monday, November 19th. Heron Bay Primary School. 7:30 pm. Be there!

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Monday: Southampton Town Hall

Calling all PLP supporters! Undecided voters! Join us for a very special Town Hall in Southampton on Monday, November 19th at 7:30 pm at the Heron Bay Primary School.

Panelists will include PLP Candidates for:

Constituency #29 Southampton East - Zane Desilva
Constituency #30 Southampton East - Stephen Todd
Constituency #31 Southampton West Central - Scott Simmons
Constituency #32 Southampton West - K. Randolph Horton

Come and hear from ALL of your Southampton PLP Candidates speaking on our record as Government and answering your questions.

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Delivered! Refurbished Somerset Clinic

Today, Minister Zane DeSilva announced the grand opening of the newly refurbished clinic in Somerset.

Minister DeSilva:

I am pleased to be here today on behalf of the Ministry of Health and, in particular, the Department of Health Community Health Nurses to welcome you to the opening of our refurbished Somerset Clinic.

We do appreciate you taking time out from your busy schedules to be here today.

As many of you may know, our Somerset clinic, located at 55 Mangrove Bay Road, Sandys, has been closed to allow for much-needed renovations to take place.

Renovations included masonry work on the clinic’s walls, the removal of old furniture, and the installation of a new air-conditioning system.

This clinic’s functions are as follows:

The Oral Health Clinic for seniors and school aged children operates on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays from 8:30am until 3:30pm.

On Tuesdays Maternal Health Services are provided from 9am to 11am.

On Wednesdays the clinic offers, by appointment only, one-on-one Nutritional Counseling with Department of Health Nutritionist Mrs. Mellonie Furbert.

Then on the first and third Wednesday Afternoon of every month from 2pm to 4pm the Seniors Wellness Clinic will take place. Previously, this was only held once a month but I am pleased to announce that we are now extending this to twice a month in order to accommodate a greater volume of people.

This clinic is for persons who are aged 65 years and older. However, it is also open to anyone in the community who would like to have their blood pressure or blood sugar monitored. In some cases, if a client’s blood pressure or blood sugar is too high, the clinic nurse will refer this client to their doctor or the emergency room at KEMH.

High blood pressure is known as a ‘silent killer’ as it can be very quiet in its presentation and, in some cases, lead to stroke and even death. Identifying an individual’s risk for stroke through a simple blood pressure check like those offered at this clinic can save your life.

Finally, on Fridays from 2pm to 4pm, there will be a Child Health Clinic, at which children from birth to 18 years of age are seen for immunization, growth and developmental assessment, or minor health problems. A doctor, health visitor, school nurse and community health nurse are present to assist with this clinic.

I should point out that all of the above mentioned services are provided at no cost to the community. However, there is a small fee for medications if warranted.

The Ministry of Health expects that these Somerset Clinic services will help identify hypertension and diabetes earlier in our population, and assist in monitoring those already diagnosed. The opportunity for regular conversations with health care professionals on aspects of wellness and prevention will go a long way in improving the general health of our adults and children.

I should also mention that other Seniors Wellness Clinics are held at Victoria Street Health Centre every Wednesday from 2pm to 4pm and at the St. Georges Health Centre, located at 1 Old Military Road, St. Georges. The wellness clinic in St. Georges operates on the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of each month from 2pm to 4pm.

The newly refurbished Somerset Clinic is for you! We built the Lamb Foggo Clinic. We're building the new Hospital. We started FutureCare. We're standing strong for healthcare for Bermudians!

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New Medical Services. Cost Savings.

New Hospital. $4 million in savings. New mammography service. New cardiology practice. New medication checking system. Sure and steady progress is being made.

Today, Minister Zane DeSilva presented the 2011 Bermuda Hospitals Board Report. Minister DeSilva focused on the highlights:

• $4m being saved in consultancy costs and reduction in senior leadership;
• The groundbreaking of the new hospital facility;
• The launch of a digital mammography service;
• A new Cardiology practice being established to improve care for people with heart disease;
• Stroke mortality being halved compared to 2003;
• The introduction of a Fast Track service which has subsequently reduced wait times in the Emergency Department;
• A new medication checking system to improve patient safety;
• And the launch of the Mental Health Plan.

This is what standing strong for Bermudians looks like. New medical services. Cost savings. That's sure and steady progress.

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Let's Move! Help Us Get to 10,000 Miles

In an effort to build a healthier Bermuda, you're cordially invited to help us hit 10,000 collective miles on foot and on bike this Sunday, September 23rd.

The goal of "Let's Move Day" is to get as many people as possible involved in physical activity on that day. This event will create community awareness for childhood obesity. All groups, schools and organizations are invited to participate as we move together and promote healthy lifestyles.

The activity goal is to generate 10,000 miles island-wide on that day. Why? Because physical activity is one of the essential keys to health, healing and wholeness.

The public can move in any way... WALK, RUN, CYCLE... Anything that gets you moving!

Members of the public can participate through 1 of 3 options:

1. Join the Walking Club at Chaplin Bay starting at 7:00 am (www.walkfree.bm)

2. Participate in 1 of 2 routes starting at 3:00 pm. (There is a registration fee of $10 and the first 500 registered receive a t-shirt)

a)East End Route: Shelly Bay Field - Arboretum
b)West End Route: TN Tatem Middle School - Arboretum

3. On Your Own (go to www.health.gov.bm , click on Let's Move Day logo to log your miles)

There will also be a special obstacle course for children at the Arboretum from 3pm-7pm.

For more information on Let's Move Day, go to www.health.gov.bm and click on Let's Move Day or
call 292-4110.

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DeSilva Asks How the OBA Plans to Cut FutureCare

In a recent newspaper advert, the One Bermuda Alliance noted, "The OBA will make FutureCare financially sustainable - without increasing Bermuda's debt- seniors can continue to enjoy health coverage for years to come."

In response, Minister Zane DeSilva asked, "First off, FutureCare is financially sustainable, but, if they believe it's not how are they going to change FutureCare's financial situation? The only way they can fulfill their pledge is by increasing premiums that our seniors pay or cutting FutureCare benefits.

"After a lifetime of hard work, our seniors deserve to have access to quality, affordable health care. That's what the PLP has delivered. Now, the OBA is telling us that they are going to fundamentally change FutureCare, but, they're not telling us how. This is what we've come to expect from the party of no ideas and no solutions - nice sounding platitudes that don't really tell Bermudians what they plan on doing.

"But, the bottom line is this. The code that the OBA is talking about in their advert can only mean either increased premiums or reduced benefits. It's time for the party of no ideas and no solutions to be honest with Bermuda's seniors about their plans."

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Investing in Bermudians and Our Health Care System

The Dr. Barbara Ball scholarship is one that was founded by the PLP to honour the civil rights activist. Now, dozens of Bermudians have taken advantage of this scholarship to better themselves and return to Bermuda to provide quality care for others.

Since the scholarship was founded the Ministry of Health has financially assisted dozens of Bermudians who are beginning careers or pursuing professional development in public health. This year, the Ministry of Health will provide students with more than $70,000 in scholarship funding.

Minister Zane DeSilva:

As most of us know, there is an international shortage of healthcare workers. In fact, the World Health Organization estimates that there is a shortfall of more than 4.3 million health workers worldwide.

It is for this reason, coupled with the desire to Bermudianize our island’s healthcare system and to strengthen Public Health in Bermuda, that the Dr. Barbara Ball Public Health Scholarship was created.

Our party founded this scholarship that has helped dozens of Bermudians over the years. In these tough economic times, we're standing strong for Bermudians by investing in scholarships like this that create opportunities for our people.

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Zane DeSilva Committed to Making Life Better for Bermudians

When he was rolled out today as the PLP's candidate for Constituency #29, Southampton East, Minister Zane DeSilva noted that he is in government because of his commitment to improving lives.

Minister DeSilva:

Today marks the continuation of a dream…….. a dream that built in my heart from young that one day I would have the opportunity to serve my country and help make life better for all Bermudians!

Today making life better for all Bermudians means protecting jobs and creating jobs.

Today making life better for all Bermudians means keeping our streets safe from gang violence and ensuring that our schools produce not just the best students in Bermuda…….but students who are the equal of larger jurisdictions

Today, we face the greatest challenge that we as a people have ever faced. This global recession has changed the way we live…….. and has even impacted our very way of life.

I know that many Bermudians have felt a sense of embarrassment and even shame……. and have felt alone in the face of unemployment and the ever rising costs of simple necessities.

I am here to tell you that you are not alone!

When you told us that there were people working illegally in our country taking jobs from capable, qualified Bermudians……. you weren’t alone.

When you told us that you would be willing and thankful to work any job just to get by………you weren’t alone.

We are prepared to stand with you, fight for you and be there for you……………TOGETHER!

With the PLP you will NEVER be alone!!!!

We understand your problems. We understand your needs. In Government, we're not fighting for the bosses on Front Street. We're not fighting for the foreign interests. We're doing our best for Bermuda. Minister DeSilva:

Knowing that saving a few dollars could mean a lot to a struggling family……….we fought hard to force the prices of prescription drugs down for you.

Knowing that sickness can’t always wait till payday, we eliminated upfront medical payments!

Knowing that qualified but physically challenged Bermudians are sometimes denied the opportunity to work because of their disability rather than their lack of ability……..we are fighting to eliminate discrimination against the physically challenged.

Knowing that our seniors are burdened by rising medical costs and lack of support from insurance companies ………we fought to reduce the stress, uncertainty and cost of their healthcare through the introduction of FutureCare.

Knowing that for too long………….privilege rather than the people decided who wielded power in our municipalities we brought fairness and equality to municipal elections; one Bermudian, one vote of equal value!!

We have done all these things………..and yet so much remains to be done.

And whilst there are those who say they would rather have a suffering people and no debt and there are those who say “every man for himself,” they don’t know you, hear your pain or fight for you.

And whilst there are those who say that they would rather have no debt than protect the jobs of our home grown Bermudian civil service, we say they don’t know you, hear your pain or fight for you.

And whilst there are those who say that they would rather have no debt than spend $15 million a month on financial assistance for our mothers, children, families and seniors like the PLP does, We say……..they don’t know you, hear your pain or fight for you.

And whilst there are those who say we would rather have no debt than spend $100 million on health care subsidies, no debt rather than have free bus service for our children and seniors, no debt rather than increase pensions for seniors almost every year since 1998 under the PLP…….. We say, they don’t know you, hear your pain or fight for you.

They believe in a Bermuda where the cries of the Bermudian are ignored…..where if we are lucky …… opportunity and success trickles down to the Bermudian from a privileged few and where we can expect to be second class citizens in our own country.

They don’t believe in the Bermuda that people like Mr. Eugene Phillips fought for…. A Bermuda where every Bermudian, regardless of race or privilege are entitled to affordable, quality healthcare. As the unheralded “Father of FutureCare,” Mr. Phillips fought for you…… and we will fight for you too.

They don’t believe in the Bermuda that people like Mr. Hughes fought for…..A Bermuda where opportunity exists for all ……and not just a select few………A Bermuda where every Bermudian’s vote is worth the same……regardless of how rich they are or how many businesses or houses they own.

They don’t believe in the Bermuda that the Hon. Stanley Lowe fought for over 40 years.

They don’t care about how he sacrificed during the years when it was not just unpopular but career threatening to support the PLP.

This is a clarion call, Bermuda. The election is near. Stand up for the party and the leaders that stand up for you!

Video now available courtesy of Bernews:

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