Impeccable timing turns the fall election into a referendum on pharmacare
2019-06-13 from cbc.ca
Eric Hoskins says the time is right for Canada to create a universal pharmacare system.
The timing of his report calling on the federal government to finally do that might not be so bad, either.
"We know (pharmacare) is going to be part of the fall election campaign," the former Ontario health minister said in an interview Wednesday on the podcast edition of The House.
"So for me, there is no better time to have this discussion than with all Canadians in the context of politicians asking for their support. This is such a profound and important part of our conversation that it deserves that attention.
The Liberals appointed Hoskins last year to lead an advisory council tasked with coming up with a plan to implement a national pharmacare system, knowing his report would land now.
What they didn't know (but probably guessed) is that the report would come back as it did — with a recommendation to establish a universal, single-payer public system that would mirror medicare.
Canada is the only country with a universal health care system that doesn't also cover prescription drugs. Hoskins said that's one of the reasons Canadians pay the third-highest per capita drug costs among developed countries, trailing only the United States and Switzerland. It's also one of the reasons, he said, that one Canadian in five doesn't take their medicine as prescribed.
Moving to a national pharmacare plan would not be cheap. The report estimates the annual price tag for a pharmacare program, which it says could be fully implemented by 2027, would be $15 billion.
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