Province urged to implement pharmacare, Lloydminster

By Christopher Brown, Nov 6

The government watchdog group Friends of Medicare is calling on the Alberta government to change its proposed seniors drug plan strategy.

Sandra Azocar, the executive director of Friends of Medicare, said that the current government’s position on means testing is a barrier to preventing people from getting the drugs that they need.

Noel Somerville, chair of the Public Interest Alberta’s Senior Task Force, said that if the government continues to go down the path they are currently on, they would be solving a budget problem on the back of low-income earners of Alberta.

“When it become acceptable public policy for the government to offload its financial problems on the citizens because they are sick,” he said.

The call for a provincial pharmacare act is being called upon by numerous health organizations around Alberta, including by the Seniors Health Council.

John Bachynsky, who is the chair for the council, is calling upon the provincial government to design a universal program that consolidates all the current programs the government has.

“The position is that the purpose of a pharmacare plan should be to maximize the health of all Albertans through the appropriate and safe provisions of medications and should therefore be an integral part of our health care system.”

Wildrose Seniors Opposition Critic Kerry Towle said in an interview last week that the government was failing seniors every day and the government needs to look at different ways to help those who built this province.

“Before we come out and implement a pharmacare act, the government needs to come out and tell the people of Alberta what pharmacare means to them.

“What we have seen in the past year is a government that has continuously failed seniors. They have made lots of comments on what would be covered and what wont be covered, but there is a lot of grey areas that the government has announced.”

Towle said the government has every senior in the province worried if some of the incentives that were previously in place were gone.

“Before I can agree or disagree with Friends of Medicare, we in the Wildrose Party want to have a broad discussion with the people in Alberta, on what an appropriate pharmacare bill would entitle,” she said.

Towle said that the current system has failed those who need health care the most.

“We have seniors right now being, not well taken care of,” she added.

Liberal Health Critic Dr. David Swann said in an interview that the current government has taken the health care system in Alberta and turned into a two-tier system, just like the Americans.

“Our party has called for a pharmacare act for some time now. We believe that some seniors are falling behind when it comes to getting affordable health care and more important affordable prescription drugs.”

Swann said that the Liberal Party is on side with the Friends of Medicare because the Alberta Liberals don’t want to see seniors lose some of their basic needs in our province.

“This government needs a minimum standard when it comes to prescription drugs, for not just seniors, but for everyone who lives in Alberta.

“Health care is an essential service that every Albertan needs and deserves and we believe that those who can not afford prescription drugs should not have to go without. That is why we also believe in a universal pharmacare plan for all.”

Swann did say that the those willing to pay for some perks of health care should be able to. When asked to clarify his comments on that, Swann explained that the Alberta Liberal Party believes that everyone should get the same treatment but, “If someone wants to pay for TV in their hospital room or pay for the higher-end wheelchair, then they should be able to.”

“But at the end of the day, everyone should get the same treatment and have the same access to medical drugs, as everyone else,” he said.

Friends of Medicare, Public Interest Alberta, and Parkland Institute will be hosting 11 information session around Alberta on Seniors Care starting this week. An information session will be held in Lloydminster on Nov. 27 at the Legacy Centre, from 7 to 9 p.m. For more information on the information session contact 780-420-0471.

Read the article online at the Lloydminster Source.

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