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Equitable pharmacare deal requires Trudeau to strike deal with wary premiers

Wednesday, December 4th, 2019

Every province operates some form of public drug plan for seniors and the poor. All premiers would be pleased to have Ottawa take on part of that financial burden. But they don’t want to be hosed again, as many feel they were with medicare… That’s why the premiers insist that any national pharmacare scheme must have “adequate and sustained” federal funding.

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Canada should enforce its own labour standards

Monday, December 2nd, 2019

Provinces like Ontario let employers avoid labour standards, such as the right to vacation pay, by pretending that their workers are self-employed, independent contractors. Provinces like Ontario have also deliberately not kept their labour laws in sync with the requirements of the new economy – one characterized by franchising, digital employment and part-time work… [They] don’t enforce the labour standards that do exist. Citing budget constraints and an aversion to red tape, they cut back workplace inspections and respond inadequately to real complaints.

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Trudeau has chance now to be unusually bold

Monday, November 18th, 2019

Trudeau may not be able to get all provinces to agree to, say, a universal pharmacare program. But that doesn’t preclude him from establishing the legislative framework for one… voters didn’t elect Liberals just so they could sit on their hands and apologize for not being from Alberta. They elected them to do something.

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This is the Liberals’ pharmacare plan?

Wednesday, September 25th, 2019

They say they would be “guided by” the recommendations of the Hoskins panel. But they don’t explicitly endorse them. That panel called on Ottawa to move ahead with legislation to create a national, universal pharmacare plan even if not all provinces were onside… Monday’s announcement by Trudeau makes no mention of timelines. Second, the Liberal announcement provides only the scantiest estimates of costs.

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To succeed in Ontario, leaders must understand we are Red Tories at heart

Friday, September 13th, 2019

In general, Ontarians are wary of abrupt change. They tend to value competent management over ideology. They usually see balance as a virtue. This is the Tory side of Red Tory-ism. But voters in Canada’s largest province are also willing to use the state to achieve social goals… In 1969, pressure from voters ultimately forced a recalcitrant Ontario government to sign onto Canada’s national, public medicare program. That is the Red side.

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Ottawa finally challenging Ford government’s plan to cancel out-of-country medical coverage

Wednesday, July 31st, 2019

The federal health minister noted correctly that the Ontario government’s decision, which is due to take effect Oct. 1, was “inconsistent” with the Canada Health Act, the law governing medicare. That law sets out the criteria that provinces must meet to be eligible for federal medicare funding. One criterion is portability — the requirement that provincial medicare plans cover residents who are temporarily travelling elsewhere in Canada or abroad.

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Pharmacare today, like medicare 50 years ago, makes sense

Friday, June 14th, 2019

In terms of cost overall, most experts agree that a universal, single-pay system would save money for Canadians… But a universal public program would also shift costs from individuals and employers to governments… Canadians would pay more in taxes for universal drug coverage. But this tax increase would be more than compensated for by the out-of-pocket, administrative and cost savings associated with the move to public pharmacare.

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Doug Ford’s OHIP move strikes at the heart of medicare

Thursday, April 25th, 2019

In the case of those who are “temporarily absent” from the country, the Canada Health Act reads as follows: “Where the insured services are provided out of Canada, payment is made on the basis of the amount that would have been paid by the province for similar services rendered in the province.” … By attacking the key principle of portability — the notion that Canadian residents take their health insurance with them wherever they go — it is aiming a dagger at medicare’s throat.

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NDP pharmacare plan sets a new standard

Monday, April 8th, 2019

… families now enjoying private drug insurance would save $550 a year on average under a universal public scheme. Employers that offer drug coverage to their workers would pay on average $600 less per employee. In short, Canadians would pay more in taxes for pharmaceuticals but less overall. The NDP is sketchy on the politics of its plan, particularly on how to get the provinces to agree.

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In the real world, encouraging signs for pharmacare

Monday, March 11th, 2019

… universal pharmacare, while it would cost Canadians less in total, would cost Canadian governments more – which is why finance ministers such as Bill Morneau are wary of it… a federal-provincial-territorial-Indigenous agency could co-exist with a fill-in-the-gaps system. But it makes more sense to go to all of this bother only for something more comprehensive, such as universal pharmacare.

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