Thursday, October 18, 2007

NDP drug plan will lead way for rest of Canada: Calvert

It sounds like prescription drug coverage will be a big issue in the upcoming Saskatchewan election. I don't know how a universal $15 copay could possibly be sustainable over the long term. Perhaps the only way is to greatly restrict the list of eligible drugs. Of course, this begs the question, if you have a great copay but your drug isn't covered, what good is your plan? I'd rather see a percentage instead of a flat copay. This creates a bit of price awareness and creates an incentive for the patient to at least be thinking about cost.

From the Saskatoon Star Phoenix:
NDP Leader Lorne Calvert threw down the gauntlet over his party's promise of a universal drug plan Tuesday, casting the Nov. 7 election as a fight over fundamental principles.

Responding to what he said was "not unexpected" criticism that has been levelled since the plan was unveiled on the first day of the campaign, Calvert framed the debate as a rerun of the battle over the introduction of medicare by the CCF governments of Tommy Douglas and Woodrow Lloyd in the 1960s.

"Each time we've tried to extend universal benefits through medicare there's been criticism. It tends to come from the same source every time. It's coming from the right wing, it's coming from the Sask. Party. That's not surprising. This is not a single issue campaign but obviously this is one of our key visions for the future of Saskatchewan and if, I may say, for the future of Canada," Calvert told reporters after a rally at his campaign headquarters.

The NDP government introduced a seniors' prescription drug plan in this spring's budget at an annual cost of $53 million. Making that program universal and capping prices at $15 per prescription for all Saskatchewan residents will cost the government $150 million at the start, growing to $205 million by 2011-12. ...more

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