Pharmacare won’t solve Medicare’s dismal performance

Letter published September 7, 2017, in the Grande-Prairie Herald Tribune.

Re: It’s time for a universal  pharmacare plan

“It’s time for Canada to catch up to our international peers,” and “to complete the unfinished business of our medicare system with a universal prescription drug plan,” Canadian Labour Congress president Hassan Yussull proposes in his oped in the Sept. 6 DHT.  “It’s time for a universal Pharmacare plan.”

“Canada is the only developed country in the world with a universal health care program that doesn’t include a universal prescription drug plan.” Yussull doesn’t attach a price tag, though other pharmacare proponents do argue that it – like many other government programs – will save Canadians money [sic].

But if Canada is “to catch up to our international peers,” then it is also time to end the unionized monopoly over our government-run, health-care monopoly, which is commonly known as medicare.

Canada ranks 9th of 11 countries. Significantly, all countries ahead of us have private hospitals and physicians!

Not surprisingly, Yussell and other medicare monopolists would prefer that Canadians not know this, and that the 50-year-old, anti-private sector status quo remain.

Health care clearly falls under provincial jurisdiction. It is time for Ottawa to respect this constitutional sanctity by ceasing to impose financial penalties under the Canada Health Act; and, it is time for the provinces to be bold and visionary and to remodel Canada’s health-care monopoly for the 21st century.

Ronald Kustra is spokesperson for the Association of Canadians for Sustainable Medicare. It is a non-profit society registered in Alberta.

Ronald Kustra
St. Albert, AB

 

Letter to St. John’s Telegram. [Not published]

To be universal, medicare needs pharmacare

Charles W. Moore

September 8, 2017

In his September 8 column, Moore states: “I don’t agree with the Canadian Labour Congress [CLC] on a whole lot. But the campaign they launched on Labour Day calling for universal prescription drug coverage for all Canadians is an initiative that merits our support.”

Moore may wish to curb his enthusiasm for the CLC’s health care policies.

In an op ed distributed to newspapers across Canada, CLC president Hassan Yussull has proclaimed: “It’s time for Canada to catch up to our international peers” and “to complete the unfinished business of our medicare system with a universal prescription drug plan.”

Yussull doesn’t attach a price tag, though other pharmacare proponents have argued that it – like many other government programs – will save Canadians money. [Name one program that was ever going to cost taxpayers more!]

But if Canada is “to catch up to our international peers,” as Yussell encourages, then it is also time to end our government-run, unionized, health-care monopoly.

Canada ranks 9th of 11 countries in the international rankings of health care systems.  Significantly, all countries ahead of us have private hospitals and private physicians! And, most out-perform Canada in terms of equity and access.

Health care clearly falls under provincial jurisdiction. It is time for Ottawa to respect this constitutional sanctity by ceasing to impose financial penalties under the Canada Health Act; and, it is time for the provinces to be bold and visionary, to end the monopoly, and to remodel Canada’s health-care system for the 21st century.

And, it is time for Moore and all other residents of Newfoundland-Labrador to demand choice here in their own province when medicare fails to deliver timely access to quality care.

[Ronald Kustra is spokesperson for the Association of Canadians for Sustainable Medicare. It is a non-profit society registered in Alberta.

Canada’s government-run health care system – Medicare -- is a monopoly that prohibits private hospital and private physician care. Medicare is a subpar performer, ranking 10th among 11 advanced countries. Canadians deserve much better! Patients deserve timely access to quality care and choice of hospitals and physicians. Taxpayers deserve much more value for their tax dollars.

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