Friday, September 08, 2006

Rae pledges catastrophic drug plan if elected federal Liberal leader

It was bound to come up at some point...proposing a national pharmacare program has been brought up by a Liberal leadership candidate. This article suggests that Bob Rae is more interested in developing a plan that can only be accessed under catastrophic circumstances as opposed to a universal plan that all Canadians would be obligated to be part of. However, the article then quotes him talking about replacing existing provincial plans so I'm really not sure what he wants.

I don't know the mechanisms of some of the other provincial drug plans, but I don't think a federal plan would be any better than what is already here in Alberta for example where there are mechanisms that generally prevent huge out of pocket expenses for drugs. Provinical programs completely cover transplant medications and antiretrovirals for HIV patients, and any Alberta citizen with a provincial health card can apply (and cannot be refused) to get a plan similar to what all seniors over 65 get autotmatically. The deductible for this coverage is based on income and even at the full rate it is quite affordable.

Also, isn't health care a provincial responsibility? The feds handle drug coverage for refugees, First Nations peoples, and veterans but these are exceptions.

From the Canadian Press:
Canada needs a national catastrophic drug program to help patients who face bankruptcy when their health demands that they pay for a costly, life-saving drug, federal Liberal leadership hopeful Bob Rae said Thursday.

The so-called Maple Leaf Drug Plan comprises the centrepiece of a six-point health-care campaign platform Rae unveiled Thursday as part of his effort to succeed Paul Martin as leader of the federal Liberal party. ...more

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