BROSSARD – Jason Lizotte and his wife, Liang Zhong, are breathing a little easier after finding out they’ll finally receive health care in Quebec.
“We got a call from the RAMQ, and they will renew my wife’s health care,” Lizotte said.
“So, that’s very good news.”
Global News first spoke to the couple, who are expecting their first child in the coming months, last week.
Zhong’s medicare card was expiring and the provincial health insurance board, (RAMQ), refused to renew it because of an issue with her visa.
Last summer, Zhong applied for permanent residency and renewed her work permit.
She was granted a different visa to the one she had before, going from a graduate-student to a family class – a category RAMQ doesn’t recognize as eligible for health care.
The couple brought up the issue to the offices of Quebec Health Minister, Gaétan Barrette, their local MNA, multiple times.
“When I went to the office, they said to expect a call from the RAMQ and I got it Friday morning,” said Lizotte.
The couple said they were told the health minister had intervened in their case and used his discretionary powers to ask RAMQ to issue Zhong a temporary medicare card.
“The issue is: when are you allowed to have your medicare card? After you get your permit, before, or during the process?” asked Barrette.
“Sometimes, I do intervene, in specific settings, like a pregnant woman, for obvious reasons.”
Barrette said he believes if an individual is in the process of getting their legal status, they should be entitled to health care.
“When you are in the process of having the card, you are not entitled to have the services and I think really that we need to adapt that,” he said.
For now, as the couple waits for Zhong’s new medicare card, they said they’re just excited to start their life as a family.
“I’m very happy and I’m very thankful that he did that for me,” said Zhong.