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Feds temporarily expand healthcare for refugee claimants after court ruling

WATCH: After a Federal Court ruling, the Harper government announced a temporary expansion of refugee healthcare, giving them access to prenatal care and prescription drugs while they wait for their refugee claims to be assessed. But, that’s all pending on whether or not the government wins its appeal on the ruling. Shirlee Engel reports. 

OTTAWA – Nearly all refugee claimants will temporarily have access to extended healthcare coverage pending the outcome of an appeal of a recent federal court ruling.

The new plan means the government will pay for everything from prenatal care to drugs for most people awaiting a decision on their refugee states.

In July, the Federal Court ruled that the massive overhaul made to the interim health care program by the Conservative government in 2012 was unconstitutional.

The revamped program allocated coverage on the basis of where a claim was from, in some cases denying it entirely unless there was a public health emergency.

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But the government was taken to court by refugees who argued the changes put lives at risk and the Federal Court ultimately agreed, giving the government until midnight Tuesday to create a new policy.

The government is still appealing that decision and says the new health coverage measures will be in place until that appeal has been decided.