The Federal Standing Committee on Health recommends a single-payer universal public drug plan in new report

Ottawa Parliament buildings

This week the federal Standing Committee on Health released the Pharmacare Now: Prescription Medicine Coverage for all Canadians report detailing numerous recommendations, one of which is to expand the Canada Health Act to provide universal coverage of prescription drugs.

The majority of the committee believes that a single-payer universal public drug plan will help Canadians who are not covered by private or provincial plans, while providing the ability to negotiate lower drug costs and reducing the cost of prescription medicine in Canada.

Accompass President, Sarah Beech, supports the principle behind providing drug coverage in Canada for those who are currently without, but worries the recommended course of action will have consequences that may outweigh the overall objectives.

“I agree, there is a need for a form of coverage that will help those who are currently uninsured – the last thing a family should have to worry about is how they’ll afford costly prescription drugs when faced with a health issue,” noted Beech.

“We already have elements of a strong foundation within the private and public systems. Starting from the ground up may not be the best solution. What would that rebuild look like for taxpayers?” added Beech.

Stephen Frank, President and CEO of the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association (CLHIA) also raised his concern with the recommendation.

“Without changes, the approach tabled by the Committee actually could reduce the quality of health benefit plans for millions of people,” said Frank.

The CLHIA estimates that the approach would require governments to find in excess of $20 billion in tax revenues from Canadians.

Accompass will continue to monitor the situation as it moves forward and is committed to playing an active role in shaping what this will look like for our clients.

If you have any questions or concerns please reach out to your Accompass Consultant.

For the full report click here.