Saskatchewan's Opposition is calling on the province to waive a family's $300,000 COVID-19 hospital bill.
Narcisa Carranza is visiting on a tourist visa. Carranza had come to Canada to see her grandchildren with plans to return home to the Philippines in January 2020. Then the pandemic hit.
Carranza and her husband had booked a flight home for April 22 of this year. Then in March, Carranza started coughing and vomiting, and had a fever. She had contracted COVID-19 and was taken to the ICU in Saskatoon.
After two weeks on a respirator, she was sedated into a coma.
"She was stuck in Saskatchewan, where this premier did nowhere near enough to protect people from COVID-19 ... And she found herself in one of our overwhelmed ICUs," NDP Leader Ryan Meili said during a legislative session on Friday.
"These are extraordinary times. Times when we've been asked to be all in this together. A global fight against a global pandemic. Will the premier commit today to help Mrs. Carranza and waive those fees?"
Today Carranza is in recovery. The family is asking strangers for help financially after the family was hit by the bill. The stay in the hospital is $300,000, but the travel insurance Carranza had is only able to cover $50,000. The family is hoping for community or government help.
As of Friday afternoon, Carranza's family has only been able to raise slightly more than $12,000 of their $50,000 goal on GoFundMe.
Health Minister Paul Merriman said he could not comment specifically on Carranza's case.
"These individuals that [the Opposition are] just throwing around in this House and using as political footballs is just un-classy," Merriman said in response to Meili's call.
"We provided health care to any individual that comes into our province no matter where they're from, their country of origin ... and we will continue to do that ... We will continue to work with any families that have that have received an invoice from the Saskatchewan Health Authority. We'll continue to work with them to make sure that they are able to provide payment."