Federal Health Minister Mark Holland says he hopes some provinces will be able to have the government’s new pharmacare plan in place by the end of the year.

In an interview on Rosemary Barton Live that aired Sunday, Holland said that during his conversations with provincial colleagues, some had expressed major enthusiasm for the program unveiled this week that would cover diabetes medication and contraception.

“It’s going to take time to negotiate these with the provinces,” he told CBC chief political correspondent Rosemary Barton. “We have a couple of provinces who are super eager, want to be on the front lines, want to do this right away. And that, at the same time, allows us to go and negotiate with the other provinces to get this rolling.

“We want to see, for early provinces, folks getting their diabetes medicine covered and contraceptives — we want to see that, hopefully, even by the end of this year.” 

WATCH | Breaking down the new pharmacare proposal:

Free prescription drugs in Canada: what’s covered? | About That

The federal Liberal government and the NDP have agreed on a framework for new pharmacare legislation, paving the way to making some prescription drugs free in Canada. Andrew Chang examines why the first phase of the proposed plan will cover some contraception and diabetes treatments, and what questions still remain.

The federal pharmacare program is a product of the Liberal-NDP supply-and-confidence agreement, and in its initial phase would cover diabetes medication and contraception for all Canadians. The government will look to expand coverage in the future. But implementing the plan will first require a funding agreement with the provinces.

Alberta and Quebec have both already signalled that they do not want to participate in the system.

“Give us the dollars,” Alberta Health Minister Adriana LaGrange said in a news conference Monday.

“Allow us to enhance the programs we actually have now, rather than create more bureaucracy.”

Holland said the federal government and Alberta have been able to work effectively across a range of issues and he was optimistic they would also work through the pharmacare deal.

Ontario, for its part, has stayed neutral so far, saying the province is waiting to see more details.

“We need to see and assess what the federal government is proposing and how it matches, conflicts, works with the Ontario system that is already here,” Health Minister Sylvia Jones said Thursday. Saskatchewan also said it would wait to see more information about the program.

WATCH | Health minister discusses new pharmacare program:

Pharmacare still being negotiated with some provinces, health minister says

Minister of Health, Mark Holland, discusses the details of the Liberal government’s pharmacare legislation it negotiated with the NDP.

The program, as currently proposed, is set to cost around $1.5 billion, Holland has said previously, but he noted it could change depending on negotiations with the provinces.

In Sunday’s interview, Holland also commented on the future shape of the pharmacare program, describing a choice between a system in which the new program completely displaces existing insurance schemes, or one in which it fills some gaps.

“What we’re trying to get at is what’s the most efficient, efficacious and effective way to get everybody covered and to make sure that coverage gets the health outcomes we want,” he told Barton.

“The NDP has been very clear, they want the single-payer, universal, totally paid-for by government, total displacement of insurance companies,” Holland said, while he had argued in favour of studying the first iteration of the program to see what was most effective.

“This debate has been too philosophical, too academic,” he said.

Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre said this week his party would examine the pharmacare legislation. During a news conference Thursday, did not answer questions about whether he would dismantle the program if the Conservatives take office.

  • What questions do you have about the national pharmacare plan? Send an email to ask@cbc.ca

Source link

By admin