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Federal Government Backing Off Full Public Pharmacare: Health Coalitions Push for Plan for All Canadians

Ontario Health Minister Eric Hoskins left his job to work with the federal government to establish a national pharmacare plan to expand public health insurance in Canada to cover drugs. Or so we thought. But at the end of February, Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau started backing away from a full plan for drug coverage. According to the Toronto Star, ” There will be no pharmacare “plan,” he said on Wednesday, but instead a pharmacare “strategy” that “deals with the gaps,” is “fiscally responsible” and “doesn’t throw out the system that we currently have”, he said. Note: we do not currently have any system at all and many Canadians suffer massive costs for drugs when faced with serious illness. This has long been a key issue for which Health Coalitions across the country have advocated.

Canada is the only country with a public health care system that does not have a national public drug plan for all.  Polls have repeatedly shown that Canadians are in favour of such a plan. As well, studies have proven that a single drug plan covering everyone would save up to $10.7 billion dollars per year by negotiating lower drug prices and ending payments to insurance companies. The Liberals’ plans would forgo those savings.

Health Coalitons across Canada are pushing back. Currently the Ontario Health Coalition (and other provincial and national health coalitions too) is on tour with the Canadian Labour Congress, holding town hall meetings across our province to call for a national drug coverage program: pharmacare for all. For dates/locations: http://www.ontariohealthcoalition.ca/index.php/action-update-pharmacare-ontario-tour/

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