Broadbent Institute – Letter to Premier Horgan and Minister Adrian Dix

Broadbent Institute | Institut Broadbent / February 02, 2021

The Honourable John Horgan, M.L.A., Premier of British Columbia
The Honourable Adrian Dix, M.L.A., Minister of Health
Re: Provincial Leadership on National Pharmacare Program

Dear Premier Horgan and Minister Dix, 

[Excerpt] Canadians cherish their Medicare system. This support crosses all geographic, demographic and political divides. There is a reason that Tommy Douglas was famously voted the “Greatest Canadian”: and that reason is his role – and that of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) – in bringing single-payer public health insurance to this country. 

Since the introduction of the 1947 Saskatchewan Hospitalization Act, the CCF/NDP have – as a core mandate – advanced the vision of Medicare as a right of citizenship for Canadians. 

We are writing you to ask you to once again fulfill this historic mission through ensuring the government of British Columbia becomes a leading voice in the national effort to achieve universal, public Pharmacare. 

Tommy Douglas’s vision for Medicare wasn’t supposed to end at the hospital door. As you know, Canada is the only nation with a single-payer healthcare system that does not include the cost of drugs in that system. Canadians, by an overwhelming margin, believe this flaw in Medicare needs to be fixed. 

In a recent poll by the Angus Reid Institute conducted in partnership with UBC’s School of Population and Public Health; St. Michael’s Hospital and University of Toronto; the Carleton University Faculty of Public Affairs and School of Public Policy and Administration; and Women’s College Hospital, Toronto, nearly 9 in 10 Canadians support a national Pharmacare program. 

This near unanimity is at least partly explained by the stresses of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the same poll, nearly one quarter of Canadians reported that they have recently decided not to fill a prescription or not to renew one due to cost or taken measures to extend it because they could not afford to keep the recommended dosage schedule. 

In the September 23, 2020 Speech from the Throne, the federal government again committed to a universal national Pharmacare program and to “accelerate steps to achieve this system.”

To read the full letter, click on: Provincial Leadership on a National Pharmacare Program