Get ready to defend Pharmacare

Cuts would directly impact HEU members

The Hospital Employees’ Union is mobilizing along with other groups to defend B.C.’s Pharmacare program against possible government cutbacks. HEU members have a lot to lose if Pharmacare is cut, both as beneficiaries and as health care providers. Make no mistake about it, this is a very serious attack, and we should be prepared to defend the best Pharmacare program in the country.

HEU’s collective agreements have benefits provisions for extended health care plans that will become vulnerable if cuts are made to Pharmacare. Our plans will become more expensive for employers who could then press the government for rollbacks on those contract provisions.

Cutbacks will also seriously jeopardize the economic viability of nonprofit extended care plans like Blue Cross that would be responsible for portions of drug coverage now paid by Pharmacare.

Pharmacare cuts would also imperil the Municipal Penion Plan by shifting the cost of retirees’ drugs into its coverage. HEU members whose clients rely on medication to live a more normal life may have to deal with situations where those they care for cannot afford their drugs — putting their safety in jeopardy.

“We are going to defend our public Pharmacare,” says secretary business-manager Chris Allnutt. “There is a mountain of research which refutes the government’s statements that cutting Pharmacare will save the government money and we are going to use it.”

HEU, the B.C. Federation of Labour and other groups are taking these statements very seriously and intend to respond to this attack on the province’s prescription drug plan — a measure that would hurt seniors, disabled British Columbians and HEU members. We will have an important role to play, and we’ll keep you informed as plans go forward.