Friday, October 18, 2019

Election 2019 Voter Guide: Part 6

With the 2019 Federal Election fast approaching, the New Brunswick Union (NBU) and the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) have compiled a voter’s guide for our members.
This series will lay out how the party’s stand on topics such as privatization, human rights, austerity, pharmacare and income inequality, among many others.
The NBU is non-partisan, meaning we do not support any political party. What we support is our members making informed choices when it comes to the future of our country.
We hope this guide will help you understand the issues and where the party’s stand.
Part 1 of the series will dealt with austerity. Part 2 deals with Income Inequality. Part 3 looked at Labour Rights. Part 4 focused on Privatization. Part 5 dealt with Tax Fairness.
Today’s edition will look at Pharmacare.

Pharmacare
Will this be the election that Canadians finally get universal pharmacare? There has never been such clear commitments towards pharmacare from the 3 national political parties, with the Conservatives remaining opposed.
The unfinished business of medicare
For decades, every credible study and report on the future of health care in Canada has recommended universal pharmacare. Yet Canada still remains the only country with universal health care that does not include pharmacare. This election has put pharmacare firmly on the agenda and it is important to know what each party is promising and what is missing.
Canada cannot afford to do nothing
Not implementing universal pharmacare is costing Canadians as much as $11 billion per year and also means that not every person is covered under our current inefficient patchwork of coverage. Even if the savings are closer to $4 billion per year, which is one of the most conservative estimates, re-investing even a fraction of these savings into public health care would be a game changer. The savings would not only be in terms of lower cost medications, pharmacare would also benefit the estimated 10% of patients who currently claim not filling a prescription due to cost.
Health Care must be a priority
Consistently and for years, Canadians polled have put health care at the top of their list of concerns. This election we have a chance to choose a government which shares that priority, to the point of implementing universal pharmacare over the opposition of large pharmaceutical companies and private insurers, who both find the current system highly profitable. It is time that governments listened to the people, not the lobby groups working on behalf of these large corporations.

Track Record and Campaign Promises

Liberal
• For several years the Liberal government refused to commit to supporting pharmacare even though they were under pressure to do so.
• In 2018, the Liberal controlled Health Committee of the House of Commons released a report that called for the implementation of universal pharmacare.
• The Liberal government struck an advisory panel, which recommended universal pharmacare.
• Prime Minister Trudeau has committed to national pharmacare, but no details or timelines have been released, so this commitment is yet to be confirmed.

Conservative
• Opposed to universal pharmacare, as confirmed by leader’s statements.
• Has long opposed universal pharmacare in favour of more private health care.
• Opposed to universal pharmacare and instead supports a fill-in-the-gaps approach.
• A fill-in-the-gaps approach would not decrease drug costs but would increase insurance and pharma profits, so is not supported by pharmacare advocates.

NDP
• Committed to pharmacare with a 2020 start and an annual investment of $10 billion from the federal government. Party has consistently supported pharmacare for many years.

Green
• Started to strongly support universal pharmacare in recent elections.
• Has committed to expanding public health care to include pharmacare by establishing a Crown corporation to purchase and dispense prescription drugs.