The pharmacare plan Ontario needs

Starting on January 1, 2018, Ontario will become the first Canadian province to fully cover prescription drugs in its provincially-funded health care plan. The new program is called OHIP+: Children and Youth Pharmacare.

Among the other Canadian provinces and at the national level, Ontario has advocated for a national pharmacare program for years. Canada needs a comprehensive pharmacare program to expand access to prescription drugs, and to eliminate the financial barriers to those who cannot afford to take the medicines their doctor has prescribed to treat them.

OHIP+: Children and Youth Pharmacare will be available to all children and youth aged 24 and less, regardless of family income. The new program will completely cover the cost of all medicines funded through the Ontario Drug Benefits Program. There is no deductible, and no co-payment. OHIP+: Children and Youth Pharmacare is the first program of its kind in Canada. Speaking in the Legislature, the Ontario Minister of Health, Dr. Eric Hoskins, called OHIP+ “the unfinished business of Canadian medicare.”

Liberals: A Program that works

Universal pharmacare, with access to prescription drugs for everyone covered by the Ontario Health Insurance Plan, is an essential part of a 21st century health care system. Ontario’s plan shows the type of leadership Canada needs by starting with Ontarians aged 24 and under, covered by OHIP.

  • Number of drugs covered: 4,400;
  • Deductibles: None;
  • Co-Payment: None;
  • Start Date: January 1, 2018;
  • Who would be covered: OHIP-eligible Ontarians age 24 and under.

Conservatives: No plan for pharmacare at all

Where is the Ontario PC Party on universal pharmacare? Nowhere. They have no plan.

  • Number of drugs covered: Zero;
  • Deductibles: No plan;
  • Co-Payment: No plan;
  • Start Date: No proposal;
  • Who would be covered: Nobody.

NDP: Modeled on U.S.-style health care

Proposed quickly in the Legislature, the NDP proposal nowhere near comes close to the scope of the Budget 2017-18 proposal. Just like everything Ontarians have come to dislike about auto insurance, the NDP proposal resembles U.S. style health insurance delivered through health management organizations: limited coverage; co-payments and deductibles. And it would start two full years after the Liberal proposal.

  • Number of drugs covered: 125;
  • Deductibles: No;
  • Co-Payment: Yes;
  • Start Date: January 1, 2020;
  • Who would be covered: OHIP-eligible Ontarians.