The Prince Edward Island Health Coalition adds its voice to those who are commending Doug Currie and the provincial government for establishing a Catastrophic Drug Plan for the province.
This plan is based on household income and should give some welcome relief to low-income families who have high drug costs. The lower the household income the sooner the family reaches its cap. After that all drugs listed on the provincial drug formulary will be free. The Catastrophic Drug Plan should make necessary medicines much more affordable and hopefully end the need for people to scrimp on their medicine or even skip it some days due to lack of money. With the Catastrophic Drug Plan some low-income families may be able to spend more on nutritious food or other essentials.
The P.E.I. Health Coalition sees the Catastrophic Drug Plan not as an end in itself but as a step towards a Universal Drug Plan for Canada as promised in the 2004 Health Accord. A universal plan would assure access for all Canadians to safe, appropriate and affordable medications. It would save the Canadian people a minimum of $10.7 billion per year that could be re-invested into health care and wellness. It would also be an enormous help to many Canadians who experience poverty due to the high cost of drugs.
The 2004 Health Accord signed by the federal government and the provincial and territorial premiers is due to expire in 2014 and the Prime Minister, Mr. Harper, refuses to meet with the premiers and territorial leaders to renegotiate the Accord.
In 2011 the federal government changed the health-care funding formula for transfers to the provinces, a change that is expected to result in a loss of 36 billion dollars to health care in this country. P.E.I. will lose 144 million dollars from 2014 to 2024 if the federal government isn't persuaded to change its mind. The federal share of funding will drop to 18 percent in a system that was cost-shared 50-50 when Medicare began. The Canadian Health Coalition believes the federal funding share must be at least 25 per cent in order to give it enough muscle to make the provinces obey the Canada Health Act (CHA). Some provinces are allowing some privatization of services, a direct violation of the CHA.
It is now more that 874 days since the Canadian Health Coalition requested a meeting with the federal health minister. The Coalition is still waiting. The current federal government seems to be in a state of denial about its obligations to fund health care and maintain a national Medicare system with national standards under the Canada Health Act. If the Health Accord is not re-negotiated, we will end up with a patchwork of provincial and territorial systems full of inconsistencies and inequalities.
for P.E.I. Health Coalition