October 21, 2019
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Make an informed voting decision, Compare Party Platforms
Liberals have promised to take the “critical next steps” toward a national pharmacare program but offer few details. The government signed a health-care funding agreement with the provinces and territories, promising a three per cent annual health transfer increase with more funding for mental health, addictions and home care programs. They also pledge to look into women’s health funding gaps and double the child disability benefit.
Conservatives have also pledged to increase health transfer payments by at least three per cent annually and uphold other parts of the health accord. They’ve dismissed pharmacare, instead focusing on those not covered provincially or at work. The party has promised $1.5 billion to buy more MRI and CT machines and to expand eligibility for the disability tax credit.
New Democrats say they want to expand the current model to include mental health, dental, eye and hearing coverage. They are also proposing a “pharmacare for all” plan, covering Health Canada-approved drugs, by late 2020. It would cost an estimated $10 billion annually — cheaper than the plan being looked at by Liberals. They oppose any privatization.
Greens promise to boost funding to train doctors and nurses and expand midwifery programs. They want to extend health care coverage to include universal pharmacare plus dental care for low-income Canadians. The party also says every Canadian should have the right to a “living will” to limit or deny medical treatment. To address the opioid crisis, the party would decriminalize all drug possession.
The party has warned Ottawa that Quebec needs more money if a national pharmacare program is to be implemented. The Bloc also argues Quebec should be compensated for the cost of drugs, which, according to the party, will go up significantly if and when the new North American free trade deal is enacted.
The party claims there’s too much federal meddling in health care. It’s proposing making provinces and territories fully responsible for funding and managing health services. To do that, it would replace the federal health transfer with tax points, allowing provinces to raise their own money. Leader Maxime Bernier also wants more options for private healthcare.
Polls show health care is a top-of-mind issue for Canadian voters, but that doesn’t often translate into a ballot box question during elections. That could change this year. Federal party leaders are putting health care front and centre heading into the election — and some are taking what many see as the next step by promising a pharmacare program.
Canada is dealing with an aging population worried about long-term care, voters who can’t afford to pay for their prescriptions, and an opioid crisis. Health care resonates with persuadable voters who are over 55 and are known to show up at the polls on election day.
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