of Medicare seeks input at community meetings
SW Sk Content - Health
Wednesday, 14 April 2010 22:58
By Rose Sanchez
The Friends of Medicare will travel the province the next month and a half to gather insight into the kind of program that should be in place for seniors’ health care in Alberta.
On April 9, the organization launched its campaign “Can the Plan” to replace what it calls the deeply-flawed Seniors’ Pharmaceutical strategy with a more healthy, economical and equitable alternative.
“The government went the wrong way for a year and a half on this seniors’ drug scheme,” says David Eggen, executive director of Friends of Medicare. “It’s time to can the plan
and come up with something better.”
Eggen says it’s time to let go of the strategy that provincial officials announced a year and a half ago, but have delayed twice.
“They say it’s delayed, but I think it’s dead in the water,” says Eggen.
He adds part of the failure of the government’s plan is it didn’t consult with the people before it was put in place.
Friends of Medicare believe the Seniors’ Pharmaceutical strategy as it was presented will not save money or improve health outcomes and that it is an expensive insurance scheme which discriminates according to age and income.
“It’s not equitable. It goes against universal health care.”
The whole idea behind universal health care is that everyone pays into a system, and uses it when needed. It doesn’t have tiers of payments or tiers of use, says Eggen.
The Friends of Medicare have decided to consult with Albertans releasing some guiding principles that could be part of a health plan for seniors.
“We will do what the government failed to do — ask Albertans what sort of drug plan works for them,” says Eggen.
“The most pressing point is that we need a pharmaceutical plan for seniors that is integrated with a health plan in general ...”
Friends of Medicare want the public to consider a few components of a comprehensive drug plan including:
• building an affordable system all seniors can access equally;
• a provincial agency that purchases drugs and finds savings through bulk and generic purchases;
• a seniors’ drug plan financed through a progressive tax system;
• making a drug plan that is integrated into an overall plan to deal with seniors’ health.
Individuals interested in attending a meeting about this issue can check the Friends of Medicare website for updates: www.friendsofmedicare.org.