October 5, 2017
OTTAWA: On October 5th, Jim Eglinski, Member of Parliament for Yellowhead, took part in debate on a motion by the NDP. The motion calls on the Government of Canada to commence negotiations with the Provinces in order to implement a universal pharmacare program.
While MP Eglinski recognized that 8% of low-income Canadians have had to choose to skip prescriptions because of the cost, he argued that the Federal Government should not go ahead with the NDP’s motion until a study could be completed on implementing a national pharmacare program. His concerns included the massive cost the government would incur ($22.6 billion annually), bureaucratic red-tape, and applying a one-size-fits-all solution to each province. In fact, 88% of Canadians are already covered by adequate prescription drug coverage under the current health care system.
“Socializing a larger part of drug spending through a single-payer pharmacare plan would give more power to government and its bureaucrats to make decisions on behalf of the insured,” stated MP Eglinski in the House of Commons. “Policies that restrict access to new medicines would be applied across the board. . .”
The Health Committee is currently studying the potentials of a national pharmacare program and requested a feasibility report from the Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO). MP Eglinski argued the Health Committee should be allowed to continue its study before the Federal Government takes action.
“[Our] party believes health care should be available for everybody, but it does not have to be done through a motion forcing the government to meet with the provinces. We have a committee that is studying the program, looking at the best ways to make recommendations to the current government. . . We should not have a motion before the House, forcing us to start those negotiations before the committee has reasonable time to study all parameters around it,” concluded MP Eglinski.
To read the speech and find more information on the motion, visit the House Publications page at: www.ourcommons.ca/en.