The Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association (CLHIA) has raised concerns about the federal Standing Committee on Health’s report, Pharmacare Now: Prescription Medicine Coverage for all Canadians, which recommends the establishment of a universal single payer public prescription drug coverage program.
Without changes, the approach tabled by the Committee could reduce the quality of health benefit plans, says Stephen Frank, the CLHIA’s President.
“We support the goal of ensuring all Canadians can access their needed medications. Our research shows that the 25 million people who have coverage of drug and other health services through group insurance plans want to make sure that prescription medicine is affordable for everyone, but do not want to put their health plans at risk. Without changes, the approach tabled by the Committee actually could reduce the quality of health benefit plans for millions of people,” he said in a statement.
Protect health plans
The CLHIA says the Committee’s recommended approach is a “very expensive way” to reach the intended goal which would require governments to find more than $20 billion in tax revenues. “It’s clear that there is alignment around the need for change. Any reform, however, needs to be done in a way that protects taxpayers and doesn’t put Canadians’ health plans at risk,” says Frank.
The CLHIA says its members believe changes to the current system should build on the strengths in both the public and private systems. “Everyone will need to make changes and it makes sense that the best system is one that will: ensure that patients have access to the medicines they need at affordable prices; ensure Canadians do not lose their existing group health benefit plans; and control costs to taxpayers,” adds Frank.
To learn more, consult the pharmacare report here.