Gutting Pharmacare another Liberal lie
Cuts `will put lifesaving drugs beyond the reach of many British Columbians’
The Campbell government’s blueprint for deep cuts in the provincial Pharmacare program—which was leaked late yesterday—represents another broken promise that will have dramatic impacts on seniors and working families across B.C., says the Hospital Employees’ Union.
“It’s the wrong prescription, plain and simple,” says HEU assistant secretary-business manager Zorica Bosancic. “The higher prescription user fees for seniors and the increased deductible for working families will put lifesaving drugs beyond the reach of many British Columbians,” she warns.
The government’s move is “another broken election promise, another Liberal lie,” says Bosancic, who charges that nowhere in Premier Campbell’s hallowed New Era bible are Pharmacare cuts mentioned.
“Cutting coverage for massage therapy, chiropractic and a range of other alternative services is a tragedy. These are a critical and interrelated part of our health care system and reduced reliance in this area will have a ripple effect and result in higher usage and higher costs in other parts of the system.”
The real motivation for these cuts, says Bosancic, is the crisis caused by Campbell’s reckless fiscal strategy, and the discredited idea that tax cuts pay for themselves. “Campbell’s experiments with voodoo economics are going to ruin our health care system and our provincial economy,” she charges.
There are better ways to control rising drug costs, says Bosancic, and she points out that the Campbell government is way out of step with public opinion on more effective solutions. In a late October HEU/McIntyre and Mustel poll, nearly 65 per cent of British Columbians surveyed supported the expanded use of generic drugs, while 57 per cent agreed a better way to deal with rising costs was better controls on the over prescription of drugs. Only 21 per cent supported higher user fees, and fewer than 18 per cent supported reducing the services covered by Pharmacare.
The results have a 4.5 per cent error margin. Full polling results and detailed backgrounders on Pharmacare produced by HEU are available from the union’s website, www.heu.org.