Medicare's Orphans

Medicare's Orphans – A film about the fight to get healthcare for children with autism in Canada. Runtime: 42min

"Political activity is demonstrably effective....People who say otherwise ignore the history of our country..." Rev. Dr. Reg Stackhouse

"For those parents who say they are too broke and too need to take your heart in your teeth and go on...and go on...." Stefan Marinoiu


Screening Room
Order Medicare's Orphans now on DVD

  1. Bill Woodrow says:

    As a grandfather of a child with autism, I thank you for this film.My grandaughter received ABA treatment and today is in school with her peers. To this day, I have no concept of the difficulty my daughter and her husband had in assuring that she got the treatment she needed. Shame on our Canadian justices for determining that this treatment should not be covered my medicare.

  2. Hayley N says:

    How about Medicare for any person with developmental disabilities regardless of an Autism diagnosis.

  3. Linda Vause says:

    This definitely needs more coverage!!!! Thanks for the beautiful film.

  4. Linda Vause says:

    This coverage is so needed now! I have an autistic son, who is aged 27 now. How can I help?

    Linda Vause

  5. Jeff says:

    Great film shows what a family has to face every day.I know ABA therapy works my son has Autism and I have been footing the monthly costs. I wish I could get my son more ABA but can not afford it !!! I spend a very large portion of my income right now and understand the devastation it has on parents.I hope political change will be made soon!!

  6. Phemie Mayhew says:

    Thank you to all the pioneers for getting us autism funding in BC. I also hope this documentary doesn’t fall on deaf ears.

  7. Humberto del Pozo says:

    Thank you for being inspiring to another cause; the cause of the human right to education of quality for all children with special needs, in Chile.
    A father of a boy with syndrome of Down, that schools are discriminating in his admission at 5 yeas old.

  8. stephen says:

    This is are future children Canada one of the wealthiest nations in the world real Canadian kids that have been given a terrible hand in life’s journey . It breaks my heart to think that everything that could possible be done to help them was not done or even all the restless night of worry the family’s go threw . in the name of god is there nothing that can be done . Uncle Steve

  9. Dubravka Skrijelj says:

    Thank you Jean and David!! Your documentary is the best answer to anyone questioning if there are still any decent and courageous people left in Canada to tell the TRUTH about wrong politics with autism in this country.
    This masterpiece has just started a big domino effect with waking up our nation who is dreaming about this country as one of the best places on the Earth. People of Canada should feel at least upset and ashamed with the fact that they do live in one of the biggest and most powerful countries in the world that is discriminating against one of their most vulnerable population- children affected with autism.

    After seeing this documentary, how many countries from all around the globe will look at us with their respect they used to keep especially for amazingly heroic, righteousness and progressive Canada?
    This injustice with wrong treatment of people with autism is the biggest shame that works against our basic moral values, our reputation, our best interest and anything that refers to and characterizes the true essence of Canadian Being itself! This injustice is anti-Canadian and it must be stopped immediately with fighting for true Canadian values from inside of our own House!
    The film is a wakeup call to our politicians that their job is to serve their own country with protecting their own citizens against any injustice, such as the great one presented in this documentary!

    The time has come for citizens of Canada to voice this injustice be stopped and show that we are not cowards who leave their wounded behind!

  10. bcaa says:

    Autism affects both genders regardless of age & status in life . Rich & poor.Do you need to have one in your family to feel our everyday struggles? To the authorities who we voted for to serve & take care of our tax money should now work to include Autism Therapy in our health care system before they become a burden to taxpayers in the future.It has been proven & there’s always hope for them to become a good contributor to the society.
    I’m an ordinary employee in a health care environment, I can see how our taxpayers money are wrongly spent to undesirable medical expenditures. I hope our government will turn there eyes & ears on MEDICARE for autism now!

  11. Deanna Pfortmueller says:

    Thank you for this film. Our government is not serving the need of the most vulnerable and this is a grave injustice. This disgusting reality should make us wonder just how civilized Canada is. Keep up the fight and may you discover fresh pools of rest along the journey and many others to help carry the burden. Our thoughts and prayers are with you families who suffer and our prayers ought to be prayers of how too we can help.

  12. dianne Mcalister says:

    Thanks Jean . My congratulations on a job well done. This has been forwarded to friends who will appreciate the information.


  13. Andrew Hall (teacher) says:

    Jay’s comment of Autism medicare in Canada

    It is evident that from this documentary the government were not ready to agree to pay for treatment for Autism necessary at any circumstances. I would enthusiastically choose the parents side and so would you. We in a class are furious at the government, they already have millions of tax payers but they still don’t pay. I’ am incredibly shocked, that have to be transported to hospital and also be fully restrained. This video clip will automatically change your feeling from neutral to various feelings like horrified, devastated, petrified etc. I fully understand the Canadian’s situation and I find it petrifying.

    Jay (9 years old)

  14. Andrew Hall (teacher) says:

    Shamsa’s comment of Autsim in Canada
    I was shocked and annoyed because the government is there to help. I think the government in Canada has not thought about other people in the land. If I was the government in Canada I would spend most of my money and time helping other children that have autism, so they can live their life. I think the government in Canada should open their eyes because there are extremely sick children in Canada. I am really upset what the government is doing.

    Shamsa (9 years old)

  15. Susanna says:

    Thank you Medicare for Autism Now and friends, families of Autism that have dedicated their lives to keep this alive! I am so humbled by this movie and how Parents I have not met fought for my son’s treatement before he was even born. No other group has endured more than these fine folks so that we (yes after Auton and Hewko cases) could drink from a well that they dug for us but will never benefit from. That my friends is selfless giving! Thank you Dr. Sabrina Freeman, Jean Lewis for keeping the flame alive. To keep the torch burning we must be ready to receive it. Are you ready?

  16. Paul Caune says:

    Please read, tweet, share & forward my Beacon News column Medicare’s Orphans @


    The words of Wilfred Laurier came to me as I watched Medicare’s Orphans: “What is hateful are not rebels but men, who, having the enjoyment of power, do not discharge the duties of power; they are the men, who having the power to redress wrongs refuse to listen to the petitioners who are sent to them; they are the men who when they are asked for a loaf, give a stone.”

    The Canadians in Medicare’s Orphans have been buried alive under the mountain of stones given to them by Goliath and yet they had the toughness to turn themselves into an army of Davids and start throwing the stones back. In an age when Canadians are electing deputy ministers instead of leaders these citizens have much to teach us about duty, honour and what’s good and bad about our country.

    Please watch Medicare’s Orphans and then ask yourself the inescapable questions of the 19th century Canadian journalist and statesman Joseph Howe: “My public life is before you; and I know you will believe me when I say, that when I sit down in solitude to the labours of my profession, the only questions I ask myself are, What is right? What is just? What is for the public good?”

  17. amanda says:

    It’s astounding that this is even an issue that has to be fought. All children need equal chance. Thanks for putting this out there and educating.

  18. Erin Thompson says:

    Hi Jessica & Barry!

    Fantastic video – thank you so much for sending me the link!

    This makes me really miss Barry though… but very proud to see you guys take your goals to the next level!!!

  19. Tina says:

    A great inspiring film to watch, and really makes me want to walk out my door with a sign all day long! I will be sharing this with everyone including posting it on Facebook!
    My clients are not just my clients..they “are my kids” too- Medicare all the way!!

  20. Roxanne Black says:

    So many emotions for me when watching this documentary. One of great sadness and anger. What kind of country do we live in here. BC, the best place on earth! Autism is becoming the norm, everyone knows someone who has it, just pray it never effects you personally, only then will you truly know and get why this is so important. Thanks so much to Jean Lewis and David Marley, truly amazing work. Jean you have worked tirelessly on behalf of our kids, for that I am eternally grateful.

  21. josie says:

    A wonderful piece of work

  22. Melissa De Guzman says:

    Well done!Thanks for all the families that share their time and knowledge in this documentary.Hopefully the authority be softened their heart to our children.
    God Bless Us All !!!

  23. Amy says:

    This film and initiative give us hope as we starting to get frustrated with the system.. we have been waiting for ABA services for our child for almost 2 years ! We will join the fight !

    Kudos to all who started and are continuing this noble endeavor !

    God bless our children !

  24. Katarina Haramincic says:

    Many Kudos to the team on this informative film! It tells a side of the autism story many Canadians may not be aware of and need to be. This makes me think more carefully about my vote and I hope it inspires the rest of the country to do so!

  25. autism pundit says:

    Now that the new documentary film about Canada’s abject failure in autism health care has been released, I’d like to share some thoughts about the precedent setting film in the world of autism advocacy: Medicare’s Orphans.

    Many films about autism understandably focus in on the miserable lives of children with autism. This can sometimes be hard to watch. Medicare’s Orphans is not that kind of film.

    The documentary chronicles the protracted battle to include children with autism in the Canadian health care system. It’s a strange juxtaposition to watch since in the United States, the debate lately has been about creating a health care system where everyone is covered. In contrast, Canada already has a supposed universal health care system, yet this is a story about the systematic exclusion of the one group that is shut out of health care — children afflicted with autism.

    How strange! There is a group of Canadians who don’t get health care coverage for their core health need — autism! I guess that’s what happens when the fox guards the chicken coop, when the health care system and the government are one in the same. When government is the health insurance provider, it apparently does a lousy job of holding itself to account where a lack of autism treatment coverage is concerned.

    The film describes the amazing lengths to which Canadian parents have gone to right this wrong. It shows the important successes in the courts, and the failure of the legal system at the highest level — the Supreme Court of Canada. The filmmakers take us on a journey from coast to coast, meeting courageous parents and their children with autism. We are introduced to one parent who actually walked 286 miles in the harsh Canadian winter to Ottawa, Canada’s capital, to plead his case and raise awareness of this horrendous injustice.

    We are heartened by the successes of children who were fortunate enough to receive treatment because, in some cases, their parents forfeited everything to fund the treatment. In one case, we meet a woman who has rented out every room in her home to pay for autism treatment. We are also angered and disgusted by the complete failure of the Canadian health care system, which lands one child in the psychiatric unit of an Ontario hospital.

    Through all this, the message is clear. The film acts as a call to action!

    Those who live in the United States need to wake up every morning and appreciate the fact that in the U.S., children with autism enjoy the protection of the Americans with Disability Act, the Individuals with Disability Education Act, the Mental Health Parity Act and the States’ Autism Mandates that are being passed daily, the most recent one in the State of New York, marking the 29th state that now legally requires insurance companies to cover the cost of effective autism treatment.

    Let’s hope that Medicare’s Orphans will so thoroughly embarrass the Canadian government that it finally does something about its hypocrisy. Canada claims to be a light unto nations where universal health coverage is concerned, yet it does precisely the opposite by excluding a whole class of its citizens from healthcare – kids with autism.

  26. Corby Luke says:

    thank you Jean and David for your years of work on this crucial story, eloquently told, a strong and visceral message. Congratulations too, on somehow finding the energy and resources to put this lovely film together!

    Do your best to reach that specific, target audience, the legislators who can realize that tipping point. And please let me know if I can help finding the large audience, Doc Zone and others.

    With much gratitude and a larger heart, Corby.

  27. Ainslie Moignard says:

    Very Powerful!

  28. Mickey Keenan says:

    Excellent program! My only concern is that there should be more information on why the anti ABA lobby gets listened to instead of the evidence for ABA being acted upon. I imagine that once the politics of misinformation is thoroughly exposed, with links to people in power identified, then more effective action can take place. In S Ireland we have recently discovered that ABA is not even considered a science by government. Now we have identified the source of this misinformation we can move. This beautifully sad movie should inspire others in Canada to leave no stone uncovered to identify the source of the nonsense that destroys lives. State sponsored child abuse is ugly!

  29. Leah says:

    People with no one in the family with autism may not care about these issues but they should; in the end, their tax money will be used to support these children in their adulthood. why not support their need for treatment to eventually make them contributory to the society than a liability.

  30. Charlene Dobie says:

    Every person in our country deserves to be given the opportunity to become a contributing member of our society. All Canadians need to hear your message.

    Keep up the good work!

  31. Jessica Hudson says:

    This is a great film, we can see (from my son Barry in the film) the value of treatment/therapy. We have been fortunate to have the resources to sacrifice (gladly), my fear is what of those children where there is nothing to sacrifice, this film sheds the truth and I hope all impacted benefit! Great work, thank you!!!!

  32. Tina Patterson says:

    THANK-YOU, this was done so well! My family faces this “truth” and we struggle everyday to give our son what he needs in order to reach his potential. My five year old asked “why does my brother have to have autism?” To me, this is sad!

    Your film is perfect and really gets this message across so very adequately. I pray that this message doesn’t fall upon deaf ears with the change / decision makers both Provincially and Federally.

    Again, thank-you for being our voice.!

  33. Lee Ann Wills says:

    You have created a powerful testimony not only for autism treatment but for the care of all the vulnerable members of our society.

  34. Maria says:

    The message is clear: this fight does not only fall on the responsibility of families dealing with autism, this is a fight for ALL Canadians to advocate on the behalf of our weakest and most innocent citizens dealing with a medical condition that has been denied the only effective treatment. Treament that has not only been backed by science, but supported by litigation.

    I hope every Canadian sees this film and feels inspired to use their voice and democratic right to advocate for access to treament for our Canadian citizens who are affected by autism.

    Thank you for the inspiration and information.

  35. Don Copeman says:

    A wonderful piece of work. Thank you and congratulations. The film will find a home in the heart of many.

  36. David chan says:

    could u post film on youtube as well pls.

    • Dione says:

      Thank you to everyone involved in this important film. All parents in BC and across Canada need to understand the history of what has happened here (and what has not). I will be passing it onto as many people as possible and I hope I live to see the day things change for our kids! All children deserve to be included in the medicare system.

      Great work!


  37. Barry Hudson says:

    I had the honor of being involved with this film and the truth it shows is a sad fact of our nation. It is almost impossible to believe that this is in fact CANADA we are talking about. We (Canada) have signed UN treaties to “protect” and ensure that the disabled have “prompt access to treatment” and we chastise other nations for failing to meet this standard – in the meantime we do guarantee these rights to our own citizens with autism. This film shows this truth in a very reasoned objective manner and is a must see not just for those affected by autism but by anyone interested in our nation living up to its proper place in the world.

  38. Dave Chan says:

    Well done.

  39. Raj says:

    It would be great if netflix could pick this up.

  40. Laurie Guerra says:

    We need to get this aired ASAP!!! Families are falling apart and it’s time to “clench our heart in our teeth and move forward”

    Well Done!!!

  41. Shirley Hewko says:

    Well done!
    When will it be broadcast? All
    Canadians need to see this.

  42. spreston says:

    What a film!

    • L Pfortmueller says:

      Very well done!
      I pray that this documentary will fall on the right ears making others aware, encouraging and leading them to take up this cause, so that a way be made for these children and their families.
      Thank you for your years of selfless dedication.
      I am thankful for the wonderful people who have been there to help you at times and in ways when it has been most needed.
      May the hearts of those in authority be softened and the will and way be there to make political change.
      Your fight has given others hope and it’s motivation has always been love for others and for justice.
      God Bless

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