The question is simple:
Medicine is a key component of our health care system; do you believe it should be covered in the same way doctors and hospitals are?
Access to health care should be based on need, not on the ability to pay
1 in 4 Canadian households are not able to afford their medications, causing manageable conditions to escalate into health emergencies. For people with diabetes, heart disease and chronic respiratory problems alone, universal single-payer pharmacare would result in 220,000 fewer emergency room visits and 90,000 fewer hospital stays every year.
Our current system is simply unaffordable
Among the countries that have universal public health care, Canada is the only one that doesn’t cover prescription medications, and as a result we pay the most for them. Canada now spends more on prescription medication than we do on doctors. This cost is being downloaded onto people. One third of working Canadians don't have drug benefits provided by their employer and most work-based plans don’t cover the full cost of medicine. With prescription drug prices rising, the benefits we do have are being cut back.
The answer is clear
A universal single-payer pharmacare plan would save money and lives. By negotiating drug prices for the country as a whole (“bulk buying”) we could significantly lower prices for medications. There is also the added savings from the removal of federal tax subsidies for private insurance plans and the reduction of federal medical tax credits.
If Pharmacare is such a win/win, what is standing in our way?
Big Pharma and Big Insurance reap huge profits off of the inefficiencies of the current system and would like it to stay that way. These powerful lobbies are pushing a fill-in-the-gaps plan that will only continue inequitable access to health care. A fill in the gaps system would mean most people would have to continue relying on workplace drug plans, which vary dramatically depending on where you work. High-risk, high-cost patients would be pushed out of private plans and “dumped” onto public plans. And without the negotiating power of single payer “bulk buying”, the government would be forced to fill in the gaps by paying for medication at any price that Big Pharma sets.
This is why it is important to question the candidates and determine if they will put the needs of the people over the profits of the few. Attend an All Candidates debate near you and ask the following question:
- Medicine is a key component of our health care system; do you believe it should be covered in the same way doctors and hospitals are?
This is not a comprehensive list. If you are aware of other all candidates meetings, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.