Universal pharmacare would improve public health, while reducing costs for Canadians, says Nanaimo-Ladysmith MP Sheila Malcolmson in a letter to the editor. Stock photo

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: It’s time for Canadians to have pharmacare

Universal pharmacare would improve public health, while reducing costs for Canadians, says MP

To the editor,

Too many Canadians are forced to choose between filling their fridge and filling their prescriptions. That’s why New Democrats are leading the charge by pushing the Trudeau Liberals to lower health-care costs and implement a universal pharmacare program.

One in 12 Canadian seniors skips prescriptions due to cost. That is unacceptable. And it’s costing lives: Canadians with curable illnesses are dying every day from lack of affordable drugs, a Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions study found last week.

Tommy Douglas, the father of medicare, never intend to create such an absurd gap in Canadian health-care coverage. Prescription drugs and other services were always meant to be integrated into a system of comprehensive public coverage, along with hospitals and physician services.

Evidence has been clear for decades that universal pharmacare would expand coverage and improve public health, while reducing costs for Canadians. It’s rare to find such an obvious and effective policy innovation staring you in the face. But successive federal governments have failed to muster the political will to implement Pharmacare for all.

Between four and eight million Canadians do not have coverage for essential medicines when they need them. However, there is a solution. With the recent parliamentary budget officer’s pharmacare report, it’s undeniably clear that we can extend prescription drug coverage to every single Canadian, while spending billions of dollars less than we pay now for prescriptions. In fact, the report shows that a universal pharmacare program would save Canada between $4 and $11 billion.

That’s why the Canada’s New Democrats brought a motion to Parliament to create, with the provinces and territories, pharmacare for all Canadians. But the Trudeau Liberals joined with the Conservatives to defeat it.

If you agree that access to health care in this country is a right, not a privilege, I invite you to join us at 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 12 as New Democrat health critic Don Davies brings the NDP’s ‘pharmacare for all’ tour to the Royal Canadian Legion Branch No. 256, 1630 E. Wellington Rd.

It’s time for universal pharmacare. Together, we’ll get it done.

Sheila Malcolmson, MP, Nanaimo-Ladysmith

The views and opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are those of the author and do not reflect the views of Black Press or the Nanaimo News Bulletin. If you have a different view, we encourage you to write to us or contribute to the discussion below.

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