The Confidence and Supply Agreement signed between the federal Liberals and the NDP puts universal, single-payer, public Pharmacare on the House of Commons agenda this fall, with a promise to table and pass a national act before the end of 2023.
Canada is the only country with a universal health care system that does not provide universal coverage of medically necessary prescriptions. More than 50 years after the idea of a national Pharmacare program was first proposed, we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to finally bring to Canada a single payer national prescription drug plan.
We already have a roadmap to get there: in 2019, the final report from the Advisory Committee on Implementing National Pharmacare recommended a public, single-payer Pharmacare plan that offers comprehensive drug coverage to all Canadians to save money, make life more affordable, and improve health care for Canadians. They explicitly recommended against a fill-in-the-gaps approach, stating "it would do little to lower drug prices or create fairness or uniformity in access across the country."
Even though many NASA members enjoy pharmaceutical coverage through the benefits plan negotiated by NASA, there are still a number of reasons to support the call for a national Pharmacare program:
- Estimates are that employers would save on average $750 per employee per year in the costs of benefits with a national Pharmacare program. These savings could be diverted to increase compensation without impacting the university's bottom line.
- A comprehensive national Pharmacare program is estimated to save Canadians between $4 billion and $7 billion per year - money that could be reallocated to improve our strained health care system.
- 21% of Albertan households experience cost-related barriers to accessing their medications. A national Pharmacare program would mean pharmaceutical coverage even if you were to lose your job.
You can learn more about the benefits of Pharmacare on the Friends of Medicare website and take action by using their online tool to send an email to the Prime Minister, Health Minister and your local MP to let them know you support national, universal Pharmacare.