Let the federal government know we need affordable, universal, and public pharmacare | National Union of Public and General Employees

Let the federal government know we need affordable, universal, and public pharmacare

The challenge now is to make sure that enough of that 91% of Canadians speak out so that the federal government recognizes that it has no choice but to bring in a national pharmacare program that is healthy, fair and affordable.

Ottawa (16 Aug 2018)  — The federal government is holding consultations on whether we need a national pharmacare plan and what it should look like. Between now and September 28, 2018 people can provide input here.

People can fill in the questionnaire — the link is on the right side of the page — without having to register. People do need to register to post comments in response to questions that are being posted every few weeks.

The information from these consultations will be used by the federal government's Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare when preparing its recommendations.

A national pharmacare plan won’t meet our needs unless we speak out

There are different opinions about how a national pharmacare plan should work. There are those who don’t want a national pharmacare plan or want to keep it as limited as possible.

The wide range of views makes it vitally important that as many people as possible participate in the consultations. Without your input there is a danger that we either won’t get a national pharmacare plan, or we’ll be stuck with a plan that comes nowhere close to meeting the needs of Canadians.

Pharmacare plan must be public, universal and affordable

Right now many people are unable to afford the medication they need. Even people with workplace drug plans usually pay over a quarter of the total cost of drugs out of their own pockets. That happens because of a combination of deductibles and co-payments.

The Canada Health Coalition has outlined some of the principles a national pharmacare plan would have to follow to be fair, healthy and affordable. These principles include accessibility, affordablity and that the plan be comprehensive. And to make sure the plan is accessible affordable, and comprehensive, the plan also needs to be public and universal.

As we know when we compare the Canadian medicare system to the US approach to health care, public plans provide better care at a far, far lower cost. With a public plan, we don’t have to pay for the profits and overhead of private insurance companies.

A universal plan means that all Canadians receive the same level of care, regardless of their income. As we’ve seen with other public services, when high-income earners use the same programs as everyone else, it’s a lot harder for politicians to cut funding for those programs.

Canadians and large corporations have very different priorities

For large insurance companies or drug manufacturers, the current situation is very profitable. They would prefer not to see a national pharmacare program. If there has to be one, they would like it to cover as few people and as few drugs as possible. So it’s not surprising that both insurance companies and drug manufacturers are supporting efforts to undermine a national pharmacare program.

But that’s not what the Canadian people want. Polling has shown that 91% of Canadians want a universal, national pharmacare program. People are worried that they, their friends, or their family members can’t afford the medication they need and they want a solution.

The challenge now is to make sure that enough of that 91% of Canadians speak out so that the federal government recognizes that it has no choice but to bring in a national pharmacare program that is healthy, fair and affordable.


NUPGE

The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 390,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. — NUPGE

 

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